Gay football star explains why Premier League players aren’t coming out as LGBTQ+
Gay midfielder Collin Martin believes Premier League footballers aren’t coming out for various pressing reasons.
The San Diego Loyal player explained that the barriers stopping players in the top league from coming out “really could be anything”.
There are currently no active LGBTQ+ players in UK football’s Premier League.
Martin told the Daily Express that he believes the lack of LGBTQ+ representation could be down to agents “advising” stars to stay in the closet.
“We don’t always know the factors for gay athletes,” he said. “It could be an agent advising a player, ‘You know what, I think it’s best for you not to come out until we get you a transfer or into a different club.’
“Or it could be teammates and people at the club, with homophobia and things people say.”
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Homophobic rhetoric within the sport is incredibly prevalent and one of the more worrying factors of coming out.
A YouGov poll found that half of the football fans surveyed agreed that homophobia was a serious issue.
The poll, which was conducted shortly after Blackpool footballer Jake Daniels came out as gay, also found that 68 per cent believe racism to be a huge issue.
Martin agreed that the issues surrounding homophobia in football need to be tackled so that closeted players feel safe in coming out to the world.
“It pains me to think that they’re having to hide a huge part of themselves for whatever reason it might be,” he added.
“Maybe it’s because they don’t accept themselves first, maybe it’s because they’re fearful or so focused on football and their sport.”
Despite his self-admitted passion for the sport, Martin said that there is “more to life” than football – a realisation that helped him in coming out.
“[Football] is something I’ve known my whole life and is so important to me, but if I don’t figure out this major aspect of my life, then I can’t continue on.
“I just hope those players find it within themselves to keep trying to explore that part of themselves and reach out to get support if they need it.”
Collin Martin says FIFA didn’t do enough for LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar
During an 18 December interview with PinkNews, the American football player said his “biggest disappointment” during the Qatar 2022 World Cup was football association FIFA’s apathy on LGBTQ+ rights.
Martin said that not only did he believe that FIFA could have done more, but the tournament should also have been awarded to a different country altogether.
“There has been no interest from FIFA in trying to actually improve the lives of the people that are living there,” he said.
“I think it should have been awarded to a more progressive country that’s willing to open its doors to everyone.”
Qatar is notorious for its abhorrent laws on open homosexuality, which can range from a lengthy prison sentence to death.
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