Talking Point: Coming out should be no big deal
Recent years have seen more professional sportsmen 'come out' as gay than there has ever been before.
People around sport will be familiar with former Wales Rugby Union player Gareth Thomas coming out as gay in 2009 and has since received enormous backing by the public. Similarly in cricket, Surrey and England wicket-keeper Stephen Davies came out as gay in early 2011 and has received much of the same support.
To date there are no openly gay footballers currently plying their trade in England. But rather than speculate about who may be the first to 'come out' the issue should really be why we are making an issue about this.
It has become apparent through public statements and what professionals have said in public forums that football, for want of a better phrase, is gagging for a current English Premier League player to come out as gay.
The fact that no-one has leaves football feeling like it cannot create the type of environment in which players feel they can come out. Fans get blamed by authorities because we are told their chanting will make it an impossible situation.
Players get blamed because authorities feel they still live in the dark ages and don't know how to deal with a situation like this, even though most if not all know or socialise with gay people.
Managers get blamed because authorities feel someone coming out as gay could jeopardise their place in a team, because obviously a manager would cut off his nose despite his face and drop or sell his best player because he is gay.
Perhaps, footballing authorities, such as the FA, PFA and other associations who claim to have the player`s best interests at heart should look at themselves as a major contributing reason we have no openly gay players in this country.
It is abundantly clear authorities are desperate to use the first openly gay player as a poster boy, as someone whose situation can be banded around without thought for his privacy because in their eyes it proves football doesn't have a homophobia problem. This is a major problem for somebody thinking of coming out as gay.
Their lives would not remain their own; the press would hound them for the finer details of relationships and how it was affecting them.
Their lives would be picked over by David Jones on the likes of the Footballers Football Show, infamous for making mountains out of not even molehills. They would be pressure to parade footballs lack of problem, by taking on endless magazine articles and newspaper interviews.
Among the press and authorities he would be banded around as 'Player A, the gay striker' rather than just 'Player A the striker'.
The fact that fans could be difficult and team mates could make the odd crude comment will likely happen. Who knows, that may well and probably is a reason that no player has come out as gay?
But, before pointing the finger at others, authorities should look at their own happy clappy way of dealing with the situation and ask, by highlighting this person until the nth degree are they creating the right environment for people to be open about their sexuality? No-one demands to know if players are straight, perhaps the same ambivalent, 'we don't care because it doesn't matter` attitude, should be applied to gay players as well. Maybe, then, football will prove it doesn't have a homophobia problem.