The biggest story in the British sports media this week was this story from the London Sunday Mirror:
The story said that two English Premier League players are going to come out prior to the start of the 2016 season. It was thinly sourced but prompted a lot of guessing among EPL soccer fans, so much so that one player -- Manchester United's Luke Shaw -- said he was not one of them.
@UnitedStandMUFC it's not me ✌ so everyone can shut up now— Luke Shaw (@LukeShaw23) October 24, 2015
I don't follow the EPL that closely so I am not sure why Shaw felt the need to address the rumors. The Mirror is a British tabloid, which means the story ranges from possibly true to possibly made up, or somewhere in between. And if no one comes out, the paper can always say that they players changed their mind.
Here is what a source told the paper about the players' intent:
"The stigma has completely gone, and the public are far more accepting. At this level of football, being gay is almost the final frontier. It has always been such a macho game and, unfortunately, perhaps more than in any other sport, there can be an aggressive mob mentality in the stands. But finally the tide is turning and more and more sports people are openly gay."
Even though no active EPL player has ever come out and English fans have often been openly homophobic, a columnist for the Guardian said the sport was ready for a gay player. "If a player came out tomorrow, could you seriously see anything but a flood of supportive tweets from fellow footballers and fans?" Dan Tickner wrote.
I think times have changed and that an out English Premier League player would get wide acceptance. We also know that one of them won't be Luke Shaw.