Headlines are lighting up across Great Britain after an MP said in parliament that he has heard of three professional soccer players talking to the Football Association about coming out.
"I understand three players are in talks with the FA about coming out and they haven't done so yet," Scottish National Party MP John Nicolson said in a Department of Culture, Media and Sport hearing, according to the BBC. "It's good to know that you're encouraging people to come out."
Nicholson is openly gay.
The FA has said his statement is not true and affirmed the association’s commitment to building an inclusive environment in the sport.
We’ve certainly seen and heard this before. Several years ago former NFL player Brendan Ayanbadejo said four gay NFL players were talking to each other about coming out together. That was not true. Last year The Mirror said two gay professional soccer players were planning to come out. That never happened.
It’s sad that people feel the need to make these grand pronouncements about LGBT people coming out. Whether it’s wishful thinking or invasion of privacy, there is no need for anyone to make public statements about people coming out.
Shut up and let their process unfold.
If people want to help athletes come out, they can contact LGBT people privately and offer them personal support and encouragement. But this nonsense about declaring groups of people coming out in sports needs to stop.
Either way, there probably isn’t much truth to this. Nicholson says he “heard” that this was happening. Ever since Ayanbadejo’s comments I’ve had people tell me they are “hearing” that several NFL players are coming out together. My guess is Nicholson “heard” the rumors from The Mirror a year ago and hasn’t let go.
Until it actually happens... let it go.