Via OutSports.com I came across this article from Spiegel, Germany’s most influential news magazine (like our Time or Newsweek) about professional soccer players and the closeted lives they lead. Given how progressive most of Europe is compared to the United States on gay issues, I figured professional gay athletes had it better than their American counterparts. Not so much.
Spiegel spoke with a sports psychologist who says he knows of several gay soccer players including one who is a very big name in Germany. But so bad is the situation that the psychologist wouldn’t let the magazine use his name. The article says it would be easier for a woman to play on a professional male team than for a gay man to do so openly. The reporter spoke with a closeted player who is married, but travels with his partner, something no one seems to notice.
I know British football teams have made progress in being more tolerant. Several stars like David Beckham openly acknowledge their gay fans and clubs have cracked down on homophobia from their fans. And unlike our football teams like, say, the Pittsburgh Steelers, British football players don’t get away with anti-gay taunts. But even England still doesn’t have any openly gay professional soccer players.
BTW, the picture is of Germany’s team at this year’s World Cup. Presumably the star the sports psychologist spoke is included there.
If you happen to read German you can check out the story for yourself here.