Swedish football player Anton Hysén has come out as gay, becoming the first active pro European soccer player to do so since Justin Fashanu. He's also only the second pro soccer player in the world to come out during or after his career. Ever. The 20-year-old summed it up pretty bluntly (and pretty well) in an interview with Swedish soccer magazine Offside:
I am a footballer. And gay. If I perform as a footballer, then I do not think it matters if I like girls or boys.
When asked about whether coming out could affect his career, he said any harassment would just fuel his fire:
People may call me anything they want, it will just make me even more psyched.
A club might be interested in me but then the trainer finds out I'm gay and then they change their minds. But that's their problem, not mine.
This is the kind of kid we need so many more of in sports. He's just starting his career and wants first and foremost to be accepted for who he is. It's pretty fitting that he would come out so close to what would have been Fashanu's 50th birthday.
Anton is the son of former pro footballer Glenn Hysén, who played in Sweden and England from 1978-1994.
This kid has the courage to come out, yet multimillionaires in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB don't. Pretty amazing.
Hat tip to Ken Scott.