German international footballer Philipp Lahm, in his newly published autobiography “The Subtle Difference”, discusses homosexuality in football and ultimately concedes that gay players shouldn’t, at the present time, come out.
“I would not advise any gay professional footballer to come out,” he explains. “I would fear that he could end up like Justin Fashanu who, after he outed himself, was driven into such a corner that he ended up committing suicide.”
The Bayern Munich star’s comments are sure to provoke much debate, and the Justin Campaign would still hope that a gay player would feel able to be themselves and come out.
However, Lahm’s comments, while controversial, do raise the question – is football a comfortable and welcoming environment for LGBT players and fans?
Unfortunately, at this moment in time, the answer has to be no.
Thankfully the likes of The FA are now starting to properly tackle the issue, but for all parties concerned, there is still a long way to go.
Lahm himself made similar comments earlier this year, but his concerns are coming from the right place.
In 2008 from the Weimar Gay Triangle, a German LGBT rights organization, for his outspokenness against intolerance.
Therefore, however hard it may be to hear Lahm’s words, the Justin Campaign applauds the player for discussing the issue in public and adding an important voice to the debate.