Yet another example how European soccer is one of the most homophobic corners of the sports world. Italian Players Union president Damiano Tommasi demonstrated an incredibly shallow understanding and compassion for living as a gay person when he said in an interview that gay athletes should stay in the closet, and that there is no need for anyone to ever come out to be happy. Some of the little gems from his interview, as reported on RawStory:
It’s to be discouraged. The fact of being identified or singled out as ‘the one who is’, regardless of your profession, whether journalist, footballer or politician, I don’t think it would be an advisable path to take.
Homosexuality is still a taboo in football in the sense that there is a different kind of cohabitation to other professions.
But there is the risk that something intimate would then become uncontrolled public discussion. ...
I don’t think that people don’t come out in football due to fear but rather that they don’t do so for personal reasons. I don’t think there’s any need to express your sexual preferences in order to work or live in a civil manner with absolute tranquility.
While it may seem that Tommasi is simply expressing how he sees the state of soccer, let me give you an alternative way he could have expressed himself:
There is homophobia in football, but I for one will stand with anyone against it. Athletes should be able to come out freely and be themselves. And if a player wants to come out in soccer, I will stand by him and support him.
Big difference, right? Both express that there is homophobia in soccer; But one virtually defends it while the other stands against it. Unfortunately, Tommasi decided to stand by the homophobia and put the onus of dealing with it on closeted athletes.