John Amaechi: ‘Homophobia remains a massive problem in sport’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Former basketball star John Amaechi says homophobia remains a “massive problem” in sport, especially football.

Amaechi, who came out as the first openly gay NBA player after retirement, spoke out after receiving the Order of the British Empire for services to sport and the voluntary sector from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

He said: “I think people approach bigotry like there’s a hierarchy. Homophobia has always been to the bottom of that ladder.

“In sport there are institutions that haven’t changed in 100 years and need to.”

The star added that the Football Association had failed to counter the issue.

“If you compare their emphasis on racism to what they’ve done on homophobia it’s an embarrassment,” he said.

“There are people in the FA who aren’t that pleased with the idea of women in the boardroom, never mind gay people.”

Amaechi is supporting a new HIV programme aimed at African communities in the UK.

The 40-year-old, who has Nigerian heritage, launched the three-year Terrence Higgins Trust programme last month.