Somewhere in one of the bigger European leagues is a gay footballer: a wonderfully gifted player, popular with his club's supporters, an international who has appeared in World Cups and is at an age when the best years of his career almost certainly still lie ahead of him. But, of course, his sexuality remains a secret to the world at large.
Not, however, to team‑mates past and present. And although at the moment he seems to be functioning effectively in a civilised environment, at one of his previous clubs he became the object of sly dressing-room homophobia dressed up as laddish wit. In public, too, aspersions were cast on his ability to fit in with the way the team went about their business; the remarks were in a sort of code, although probably none of those involved meant any real harm. Like Joey Barton's obscene gesture to Fernando Torres at the weekend, which in its ignorance and stupidity recalled Robbie Fowler's altercation with Graeme Le Saux almost a dozen years ago, they were the horrible product of an age-old dressing-room culture of empty machismo.
The player concerned – and you will have to take it from me that he really does exist – has it in his power to change all this. His prominence means that were he to speak publicly about his sexuality, notice would be taken around the world. And we would all, I believe, be surprised by the results.
It is almost exactly a year since Gareth Thomas – the first Welsh rugby union player to win 100 international caps, the second highest try scorer in the country's history, and a former British and Irish Lions captain – took the massive step of declaring his homosexuality. Driven by the agony of deception, Thomas clearly believed that the potential reward, or at least the relief, was worth the great risk, and how magnificently he was rewarded.
Rest of the article here: www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2010/de
O okay, Mr. Journalist.