clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

French soccer league player sits out game to avoid wearing Pride-themed uniform

For second year in a row, Paris Saint Germain’s Idrissa Gueye skipped the games where a rainbow-colored jersey was worn.

Paris Saint Germain and Montpellier players wear Pride-themed jerseys during Saturday’s game.
Paris Saint Germain and Montpellier players wear Pride-themed jerseys during Saturday’s game. One P.S.G. player sat out the game.
Photo by John Berry/Getty Images

Something always seems to happen to Paris Saint Germain soccer player Idrissa Gueye before games when the team wears rainbow-colored uniforms to oppose homophobia.

Last year, Gueye missed the game with what the team called stomach issues. He missed Saturday’s game with what the team said were personal reasons.

But the real reason, French media report, is that he did not want to wear the Pride-themed jersey, part of a French leaguewide effort to mark Tuesday’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. The league made a big show of the special uniforms, tweeting out a photo of Lionel Messi (who also plays for P.S.G.) wearing one.

From the New York Times:

Gueye has not commented on his absence, but French news media reports, which were first to report the reason for Gueye’s missing the game on Saturday, quickly noted that he had also missed the same awareness-raising fixture last season. Last season’s absence was attributed to a stomach issue, but this year P.S.G.’s coach, Mauricio Pochettino, said Gueye did not have any health issues. ...

For P.S.G. the issue of support for gay rights and anti-homophobia efforts is a particularly sensitive one. The team is owned by the Qatari state through its sovereign wealth fund, and Qatar itself has come under scrutiny amid concerns from the gay community about their safety when the World Cup takes place in the Gulf country later this year. Homosexuality is against the law in Qatar, as it is in other countries in the Gulf, but World Cup organizers have insisted that all fans would be welcome during the tournament.

Same-sex acts are also illegal in Gueye’s native Senegal, where ultraconservative groups have burned rainbow flags during public protests against homosexuality.

Rogue Direct, a French group fighting homophobia in sports, called on P.S.G. and the league to find out why Gueye missed the Pride game two years in a row.

The Pride-jersey was proudly worn by Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos.
The Pride-jersey was proudly worn by Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos.
Photo by John Berry/Getty Images

“Homophobia is not an opinion but a crime,’ the group tweeted on Sunday. “The LFP [League] and PSG must ask Gana Gueye to explain himself and very quickly. And punish him if necessary.”

There are two possible reasons why Gueye skipped out the last two Pride matches — he’s a homophobe or hates the color scheme. He’s still not saying.