Italian national soccer coach Marcello Lippi, who in January said there were no gay players in the Italian league, now says he would never pick two players for the national team if they were a gay couple. Reports AFP:
"In the current climate, two national team players could never be involved in an open relationship," he told a web-TV station.
"This is not a question of culture but is more related to the fact that such a relation would create conflicts contrary to the interests of the dynamics of the group. Imagine how a homosexual couple in football would be perceived.
"Even if, socially, most people would support and understand such a situation it would nonetheless become magnified and eventually would be viewed negatively."
Italian gay rights groups slammed Lippi's comments, saying they only fueled "a climate that is by now poisoned by fear and suspicion." Rome has seen several anti-gay incidents in recent days, including attacks on a couple and the attempted fire-bombing of a gay disco that was closed at the time.
People like Lippi are a big part of the problem and he shows ignorance and a lack of leadership. First, he makes a ridiculous comment that there have never been any gays in Italian soccer in his 40 years coaching. Then, he concedes that he would have no problem picking a gay player (I thought none existed) but that this person would find it hard to live openly. Now, he raises a theoretical problem of an openly gay couple on a team, only to condemn it. I find it odd that he seems obsessed with this subject; maybe the coach doth protest too much.