A French soccer player has been rejected from his team because he is gay. Yoann Lemaire played with the small club Chooz for 14 years. In May 2009, some teammates made homophobic comments in front of a TV camera, and Lemaire took a sabbatical from the club. He has since asked to return to the club, and the team has refused. The rejection was signed by the club president, Frédéric Pretty. The rejection specifically refers to Lemaire's sexuality and the "trouble" it can cause as reason for rejection. From a rough translation:
The invoked reasons are to protect the two parties. It is important to us, considering the passion since the events of May 2009 and the media coverage that resulted, to avoid again incidents.
Lemaire said in an interview that it was only two players (out of 60) on the team who don't like that he's gay. Instead of removing the hateful players, they instead decided to remove the gay player. Lemaire may have been part of a small club, but he was one of the more well-known players on that club.
Part of the club's reasoning for refusal is a slew of homophobic threats (including death threats) aimed at Lemaire by the former head of the club Chooz. Those threats were sent via Facebook.
Some in the town are not happy about it. According to LeMonde:
"Before, we were the model club model fighting against homophobia, now we pass for the archetype of homophobia", regrets the assistant to the mayor of Chooz, Rémi Vienot, who recalls that this club, with more than 200 graduates, had been the first club of French soccer to sign the Charter against the homophobia in soccer, launched by the Paris Soccer Gay, even before the PSG signed the Charter.
Yet another example that despite all of the warm, fuzzy openness of Europe, their soccer continues to be one of the most homophobic places in the world.
Hat tip to Radiatoryang.