Greg Clarke had a bumpy 2016 in regards to LGBT issues. The head of the Football Association in England said last autumn that he discouraged gay elite soccer players from coming out publicly, saying it would be “impossible.”
Now he’s changing his tune a bit several months later. In an interview with The Times, he said he has spoken to some gay soccer players, and that he thinks it would be a good idea — if they want to come out -- to come out simultaneously.
“I put the message out there that if a number of top-level pros want to come out, why don’t we synchronise it? So one person doesn’t have to come out on their own,” Clarke told The Times. “The Premier League, the Football League and the FA could do it at the start of the season.”
We’ve also heard this idea of many athletes coming out simultaneously floated for several years. It’s never happened. A big part of the reason is that it’s hard enough to find one athlete who wants to come out publicly, let alone three or four. Plus, people like Clarke keep talking about the difficulties of coming out, instead of focusing on the incredibly positive benefits that virtually every out LGBT person in sports talks about.
Whoever chooses to come out at any time, we are always here to help however we can.
In the meantime, we’d love for people like Clarke to stop talking about how many gay athletes they are talking to. Talk with them behind the scenes, provide them resources and support, and stop fueling the public guessing-game.