Openly gay former professional rugby player Gareth Thomas is at the center of the latest effort to understand homophobia in soccer. The BBC has produced a powerful new documentary following Thomas as he explores what drives homophobic actions in soccer in the United Kingdom, and what can be done to curtail it.
Thomas was a bruiser in his sport of rugby, coming out publicly toward the end of his professional career while continuing to blaze a trail as an active athlete.
The BBC piece follows Thomas through his personal journey of coming out in the macho world of rugby while drawing parallels between that and what is going on in professional soccer in England today.
Thomas visits with Robbie Rogers, among others. Rogers played for Leeds United in the United Kingdom, leaving England once he came out because he believed a gay athlete would be more accepted in the United States. That is a notion his L.A. Galaxy teammate Robbie Keane also talked about.
It is clear that the use of gay slurs by athletes and anti-gay chants by fans have a real emotional and mental impact on gay athletes like Rogers.
Take a look at the entire documentary film above, which is well worth your time.