Joey Barton: ‘Casual verbal homophobia’ still a problem in football

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Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton has praised supporters of the recent Rainbow Laces campaign, but says that “casual verbal homophobia” is still a problem.

he 32-year-old has backed Stonewall’s rainbow laces campaign – in which laces are sent to every premiership footballer and professional club – for two years in a row.

On Wednesday, Barton took to his official website to raise concerns over the “casual” homophobic comments he has heard.

He wrote: “Casual verbal homophobia is still rife in the stands. Pull out of a tackle and you’re a ‘poof’. Overplay an injury and you’re told to stop ‘acting like a fucking queer’.

“And I’ll be honest, it isn’t just the fans. Players use the same type of language on the pitch and on the training ground.

“It’s this off-the-cuff linguistic intolerance and thoughtlessness that makes the football industry in general, and football stadiums specifically, so intimidating for LGBT fans.

“I can’t imagine a gay couple feeling so comfortable at the acceptance of the football community that they’d be happy to wander down Wembley Way hand in hand, can you?”

Earlier in September, when asked whether he expected a player to come out soon, he said: “I don’t know is the honest answer, but I certainly feel that the campaign has made positive strides so that a player would be comfortable coming out.”

The player earlier this year led QPR in their commitment to the “Football V Homophobia” campaign, and said last year: “The bureaucrats have been guilty of not taking a tough enough stance to make this issue go away”.

However, he was rebuked last year after sending tweets to Brazilian player Thiago Silva calling him a “transsexual ladyboy”.

He wrote:  “2 questions for Thiago Silva. Firstly, Why are YOU talking about ME, in your press conference before PSG v Barca? Very strange.”

“Secondly, Are you Pre-Op or Post-Op? #transsexual #thiagosaladyboy”