Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Louis Saha asks should a footballer come out?

Homophobia in football is really becoming an issue that players are thinking and talking about.

Following comments from senior and famous players such as Florent Malouda and Phillip Lahm, Tottenham Hotspur striker Louis Saha has now publicly revealed his own thoughts on the last taboo in the game.

In an exclusive interview with the Evening Standard, the eloquent Frenchman (pictured right) discussed the issue of homophobia in football.

He said: “I do think players would accept it, eventually. But it would take time and some management. Footballers are very frank people and we are always taking the mick, so when there is something we’re not used to, it’s going to be hard.

“Do you think a player who comes out will be protected enough? I don’t think he would be protected from the fans. Maybe his own fans would be okay but the opposition fans?

“I don’t think it would be easy for him to cope with that. People are rude and if you perform badly, you are insulted badly. If there was someone who fans perceived to be different from the other players, he might end up suffering some big insults and it would be difficult to live with.

“When there is a problem, there has to be a solution and I have tried not to hide from these subjects. You have to be tolerant and even if someone is making a joke, it might still be painful for someone to hear. This is something that society wants to have a solution for.”

Within the interview Saha said he discusses the issue more in a chapter of his autobiography. This is sure to take a different tone away from the "pally" nature in similar books by contemporaries such as Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney.

What is clear from the comments is that Saha is a deep-thinking professional, far removed from the traditional view of modern-day footballers.

His views are refreshing but they also present the challenges which face those people like the members of the Justin Campaign who want to bring about change in the beautiful game.

But the fact professional footballers are thinking about the issue is only positive as it shows that change is possible. With more tolerant and broad-minded senior pros like Saha, perhaps there will be an easier route for people to become truly accepted for who they are when they take part in a football game.

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