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Walking alone
March 29, 2011 4:36 AM   Subscribe

"It is completely strange, isn't it? It's all fucked up. Where the hell are all the others? No one is coming out." The Guardian interviews Anton Hysén, the world's only openly gay male professional footballer.
posted by londonmark (51 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's noticeable that while the footballing authorities were eventually prodded to take action against racism they're very reluctant to say anything on homophobia. As the article points out, if you're a gay professional player the cards are stacked against you, what with the reaction to Justin Fashanu, FIFA's president seeing the issue as a joke and so on.

There was an interesting article on the issue in The Guardian the other week, ostensibly by a current player, talking about the attitude of fans. The Sol Campbell chant he quotes made me feel physically ill.
posted by spectrevsrector at 4:47 AM on March 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


That's awesome -- cheers to being himself and letting the world snarl and glare. People are so terrified of "gayness" and it's completely irrational. It's a personal choice and has nothing to do with anyone else. No one is going to make someone gay and god knows most gay men I know find their detractors to be... less than physically attractive in most cases.

It's an interesting juxtaposition of the song and his experience. No one wants to be a hero or the person who has to take the hard knocks in changing society. Martin Luther King prayed every night for someone else to do it -- making the deal with God that he would keep going until the real leader showed up. It cost him everything but he did it... because someone has to do it.

Overall, sport is about the best-skilled individual -- or it should be -- regardless of who they choose to have a romp with. This guy is awesome and I wish him good luck and godspeed.
posted by nickrussell at 4:49 AM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nice article, and I'm glad he's having an easier time of it than folks seemed to expect.

But I just want to note that throwing a punch at someone who sexually assaults you is no kind of indication of homophobia. It's certainly not the most sensitive or appropriate of reactions, but it is not especially homophobic.
posted by contrarian at 4:51 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's a personal choice

Let me call you out for that one nicely, before someone does it less so.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:52 AM on March 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


before someone does it less so.

People will still gang up on him. Because they can.
posted by pracowity at 4:53 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think he meant being gay is a choice...
posted by londonmark at 4:54 AM on March 29, 2011


Interestingly, there quite a few British rugby players who are completely out - and there are more who are fully aware of the fact that they have huge gay followings. One of them in particular has even done photo shoots for calendars and the like, with some of the proceeds usually going to a charity. You would think that the two sports might progress in parallel, but apparently not...
posted by anaximander at 4:56 AM on March 29, 2011


Where the hell are all the others? No one is coming out.

I'm not surprised that so few gay guys play professional football (or play but choose not to come out). Hooliganland doesn't look like a comfortable place to be gay.
posted by pracowity at 4:56 AM on March 29, 2011


Good point. It's a personal choice of how one chooses to conduct themselves in society -- whether being open or closed about the matter. It was meant in the context of him being himself and forcing the problem onto the people with a problem than keeping it to himself.

Gay friends have been part of my life for so long that I have forgotten about the part of the debate that goes on around "where it comes from". Who gives a shit. I like pizza. I don't know why and it doesn't matter. I just know I like pizza and that's good enough for me.
posted by nickrussell at 4:57 AM on March 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


I just know I like hate pizza and that's good enough for me.

See the problem? Sometimes it's good to be able to justify your opinions and thus be open to changing them.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:05 AM on March 29, 2011


Don't really see the problem. If you hate pizza, don't eat it. I don't see how me eating pizza really affects you. Unless you hate something that pizza represents. And in that case, you should probably go work that out because there's a lot of pizza in the world and if you walk around hating pizza, you're going to be filled with a lot of hate.

Again, I don't see how you being filled with hate has at all to do with my decision to eat pizza. Unless you attack me for eating pizza. But again, attacking me for eating pizza isn't going to solve your insecurities. There will always be more pizza and it's just a matter of time before your hate destroys you.

So go ahead and hate pizza. I'll go ahead and love it. You can go sit with all the other pizza haters in the world and be filled with pizza hatred and the rest of us will have a pizza party.

See, I don't see a problem for me. I see a problem for you. And I hope you work on that.
posted by nickrussell at 5:19 AM on March 29, 2011 [30 favorites]


While I have to admit to not being the world's biggest sports fan, I have to admit that sometimes sport has an amazing ability to speak to the masses, and change their opinions. We went through this, 20,30 years ago, in most sports in the planet, in terms of racism. That battle has mostly been fought. It is accepted, now, by most people with an IQ over seventy, that it's about how you play the game, not the colour of your skin. It looks like we're just getting started in that arena in the area of sexuality, and it's a tough road to start walking on (especially since most people who aren't into soccer will quite happily tell you their opinion on the sexuality of the players...)

This all takes a long time. But it will be a victory.
posted by Jimbob at 5:25 AM on March 29, 2011


On his left arm, in particularly elaborate lettering, is: "UNWA". This is Hysén's tribute to Liverpool, his birthplace, and the terrace anthem of his favourite club – You'll Never Walk Alone.

Never say never.
posted by three blind mice at 5:25 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


We went through this, 20,30 years ago, in most sports in the planet, in terms of racism. That battle has mostly been fought. It is accepted, now, by most people with an IQ over seventy, that it's about how you play the game, not the colour of your skin.

The battle against racism is still having to be fought in the footballing world, certainly in Europe at least.
posted by jonnyploy at 6:01 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The battle against racism is still having to be fought in the footballing world, certainly in Europe at least.

Really? I seem to see a large number of openly black players on pretty much every club in Europe.
posted by three blind mice at 6:05 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was controversial because the gay community assumed Glenn was a homophobe after he threw a punch at a man who groped him in the toilets at Frankfurt airport in 2001.

Did they really assume that? I doubt it.
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 6:07 AM on March 29, 2011


There are black players in football but that doesn't mean that they don't face openly racist chanting and hostility from opposition fans at matches. This isn't exactly uncommon in Europe.
posted by joboe at 6:11 AM on March 29, 2011


Really? I seem to see a large number of openly black players on pretty much every club in Europe.
posted by three blind mice at 14:05 on March 29 [+] [!]


Yes, and those players encounter frequent racist abuse from fans and less frequently from players.
posted by jonnyploy at 6:11 AM on March 29, 2011


Or what joboe said.
posted by jonnyploy at 6:13 AM on March 29, 2011


Interestingly, there quite a few British rugby players who are completely out

I'm not arguing with you here, but I can't think of more than one (and he was trumpeted as the first, if I remember right) - can you name names?
posted by Infinite Jest at 6:24 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are black players in football but that doesn't mean that they don't face openly racist chanting and hostility from opposition fans at matches.

No kidding, but that's not my point which is that one sees a large number of black players ON THE PITCH. Openly black. In your face black. As far as their open participation in the game, racism against blacks in European football has been largely overcome.

The point which Mr. Hysén is making is that he is, as an opely gay player, completely alone on the pitch so his comparison to the stuggles of black players is completely appropriate.
posted by three blind mice at 6:34 AM on March 29, 2011


No kidding, but that's not my point which is that one sees a large number of black players ON THE PITCH. Openly black. In your face black. As far as their open participation in the game, racism against blacks in European football has been largely overcome.
Weeeelll, ok, but one of the big differences between race and sexuality is that most black people don't really have the option of being in the closet about being black. I think we can assume that there are other gay footballers, and they're not revealing to fans (and possibly to other players) that they're gay. The situation with black players is not exactly analogous, since that's not a strategy they can use to avoid racism.
posted by craichead at 6:39 AM on March 29, 2011


Interestingly, there quite a few British rugby players who are completely out

Rugby: A sport for barbarians, played by gentlemen.
Footie: A sport for gentlemen, played by barbarians.


(Also, racism goes far beyond prejudice against black people -- especially in Europe today. If anything, it gets glossed over because we've been trained to identify racism as only being used against people of African descent. Next time you're in Europe, pull some folks off of the street, and ask them what they think of Islam, or the Roma.)
posted by schmod at 6:43 AM on March 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Weeeelll, ok, but one of the big differences between race and sexuality is that most black people don't really have the option of being in the closet about being black.

There's a pretty interesting chapter about this in Soccernomics. Ryan Giggs's father is black and the player was always very forward about his pride in his Caribbean ancestry, but because Giggs doesn't "look black" he didn't suffer the same discrimination (and was even left out as a datapoint in a report looking in to racism in football).
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:50 AM on March 29, 2011


The point which Mr. Hysén is making is that he is, as an opely gay player, completely alone on the pitch so his comparison to the stuggles of black players is completely appropriate.

I don't disagree. My point was a reply to Jimbob's point about the battle against racism having already been fought in sport. Certainly the participation problem seems to have been overcome (for the most part at least), but racism is still rife within the footballing world. As far as I can see the battle against homophobia in football hasn't even started. It's all very depressing, particularly when you consider the number of countries in which football is the national sport.
posted by jonnyploy at 7:04 AM on March 29, 2011


Rugby: A sport for barbarians, played by gentlemen.
Footie: A sport for gentlemen, played by barbarians.


I haven't been to a rugby game but I would take issue with the first half of this saying. There's enough evidence that football is a bit lacking in gentlemanly fans. But in regards to the players, I've found this to be generally true.

Rugby players are so damned polite to the ref, absolutely no talk back. How can you tell? The refs are actually mic'd up, which I think would be a great thing for football.

The blatant intimidation on the football pitch (from both the players AND the fans) makes me wonder why any sane person would ever want to oversee a high profile game. Unfortunately I shudder to imagine how they would be like to an openly gay player.
posted by like_neon at 7:12 AM on March 29, 2011


> Interestingly, there quite a few British rugby players who are completely out

I too am surprised by this. There are more openly gay pro Rugby players in the UK alone than there are in the whole of world football?

> Rugby players are so damned polite to the ref, absolutely no talk back. How can you
> tell? The refs are actually mic'd up, which I think would be a great thing for football.

In Rugby League at least getting penalised for back chat seriously hurts your team. It's a competition for field position and as soon as you're penalised the opposition team kicks the ball down field and play restarts where the ball went into touch. I have seen teams in a position to score be marched the entire length of the field by the referee who is compelled to not take shit from anybody and then concede a try themselves. Do not give a rugby referee of either code any shit.

Try the same in football. You can have players right down the other end of the field without being offside and you can kick directly to them. Losing field position is everything in Rugby League yet nothing at all in football.

> Ryan Giggs's father is black

....and a Rugby League player. Swinton if I remember right. Bizarre as it might sound Edwin Starr was a fan.
posted by vbfg at 7:39 AM on March 29, 2011


They tried putting a microphone on a referee once. It was bad. In a good way.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 7:41 AM on March 29, 2011


Hysén is utterly at ease with his decision when we meet at his family's apartment in Gothenburg before his team, Utsiktens BK, play their first big match of the new Swedish season. He has no time for gay stereotypes. As he politely puts it: "I'm not a big Pride person. There's nothing wrong with Pride but it's just not my thing."

You know, somewhere in the past 40 years, the GLBT community has done itself a terrible disservice with how it conducts Pride celebrations, I think.

This isn't the first time I've heard someone express this kind of exact thing. "Oh, I'm homosexual, and I'm out, but I'd never go to Pride. It's so extreme, so outlandish, it paints us in a bad light in the eyes of the community at large" etc etc. (I've heard this said even about Pride here in the Spokane area, which really is about the most tame Pride parade you could possibly imagine.)

This sentiment makes me sad.

When Pride marching started, a year after Stonewall as a half-walk, half-run up a single lane of traffic, the point of it was to be present and accounted for in public without shame. That is why it is called Pride -- because the event is about encouraging the long-oppressed, long-loathed, long-living-in-fear GLBTQ people to come out of their closets and into the streets, living a life empty of shame and repression and full of pride and belonging.

That someone stepping out onto the global stage of futbol as a gay player can turn around and dismiss Pride as being something they don't want to participate in... Because why? Because it's too extreme in its expression? Because it plays too much into the stereotypes? When the truth is that gay people are everywhere in all walks of life and everyone should feel free to participate. That Pride parades need to find a way to make the gay blue collar workers, the gay footballers, the GLBTQ everyone/anyone who wants to live a life without fear and shame... They all need to feel as much a part of Pride celebrations as the drag queens and the dykes on bikes.

But we're failing along the way. We're allowing our most public face, the one we put on once a year in front of everyone, to become a parody of ourselves and become a barrier to feelings of universal brother- and sisterhood.

Imagine if the gay sports players were to actually feel that Pride WAS for them. Imagine how that public act might encourage other gay sports players and fans to also come out and live without fear. That's why Pride started in the first place, and that's what Pride should be.
posted by hippybear at 7:45 AM on March 29, 2011 [11 favorites]


Imagine if the gay sports players were to actually feel that Pride WAS for them. Imagine how that public act might encourage other gay sports players and fans to also come out and live without fear. That's why Pride started in the first place, and that's what Pride should be.

My only experience of Pride is in London, where the representation is as broad as you could possibly imagine. It's not all muscle queens and diesel dikes, there are professional associations, trade unions, community groups, religious groups, sports societies (including football teams) and many unaffiliated participants from all walks of life. Pride is as relevant to gays today as it was in its infancy — but it has grown contented and comfortable over time. I think in many ways Pride is a victim of its own success. I see the concept of a gay community slowly eroding as public acceptance becomes more and more the norm. The gays I know who don't march don't see the point. They are people like Anton, who no longer need to identify only with their sexuality.

This is progress, but it's also a little sad.
posted by londonmark at 8:13 AM on March 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Don't really see the problem. If you hate pizza, don't eat it.

Do you consider the eating of oysters to be moral and the eating of snails to be immoral? Of course not. It is all a matter of taste.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:24 AM on March 29, 2011


That someone stepping out onto the global stage of futbol as a gay player can turn around and dismiss Pride as being something they don't want to participate in... Because why?

I'm really with you in your message, but to be truly fair -- he simply doesn't clarify why. Also, he's very young, people at that age are still struggling with their identity and how they are perceived even among their own private circles, and this is a 20 year old who is coming out in a very public way.

Pride is there for him, and it will be there when he's 25 or 30 or whenever he finally understands. In the meantime, I don't really blame him for wanting to withhold his association until he really understands what that means.
posted by hermitosis at 9:55 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


See the problem? Sometimes it's good to be able to justify your opinions and thus be open to changing them.

No, in fact, this is completely irrelevant to what nickrussel was saying. If you're really responding to what he (as he explained) meant, you'd be saying this: "sometimes it's good to be able to justify your preferences (whether culinary or sexual) and thus be open to changing them." I don't think gay or straight people have to be able to justify their gayness or straightness, and I certainly don't think they have to be open to changing it.

It's fine to hate gay sex in the way that I, for instance, hate soft cheeses. I don't partake and I do fine. I don't think people who like soft cheeses are reprehensible. I don't feel called on in the least to justify my preference. I just don't like it.

If you start demanding justifications for such preferences, you might find that all that many people come up with is "I just do/don't like it", or "that's just how I am". And if you then think that those aren't very good justifications, well, what are you going to do?
posted by kenko at 10:21 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I'm not a big Pride person. There's nothing wrong with Pride but it's just not my thing."

Towards what others have just said about this, I specifically take issue with this kind of speech: There's nothing wrong with X, but it's just not my thing.

The counter is, have you taken the effort to understand what X is, before passing such judgment?

I used to think this way as well. Then I came across an article about the (historical, cultural) role of gay pride parades. And reflecting back, I understand now that it really was my attitude that was wrong, in multiple ways—I was being ignorant about the past; ungracious about what Pride has done for me, starting from a time before I was born; I was closedminded, criticising what Pride is but not contributing to what it could be. I would even say my distaste was due to a sort of low-level remnant of internalized homophobia—I don't like something because, merely from all I've heard/seen, it is a wild/extreme version of who I am.

To me, it's as if a Chinese American said: There's nothing wrong with Chinatown, but it's just not my thing. I think that only someone who is somewhat oblivious to the interconnectedness of Chinese-American demographics could express their attitudes in such a non-positive, and almost hypocritical, way.

I should add that I'm not criticising Hysén directly in this; understandably, it was two, unspecific lines from an interview, but those lines really made me disagree about something that my younger self would have had no issue with. What I felt, I wanted to put into these words.
posted by polymodus at 10:35 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I appreciate what Hippybear is saying, but unless and until the general gay culture that is celebrated and communicated through Pride provides any outlet whatsoever for naturally masculine gay males, you can expect those males to check out completely. What’s in it for them?
posted by joeclark at 10:56 AM on March 29, 2011


the world's only openly gay male professional footballer.

He's not a professional footballer, but his older brother is and his father was. From the article:

"Although, as he points out, he currently plays in the fourth tier of Swedish football, working in the local Volvo factory to support himself, Hysén's honesty about his sexuality is a big deal. His family is a footballing dynasty in Sweden; Hysén's older brother, Tobias, is a Swedish international; their father, Glenn, was a tough defender who remains a celebrity in Sweden."
posted by iviken at 11:03 AM on March 29, 2011


Rugby players are so damned polite to the ref, absolutely no talk back. How can you tell? The refs are actually mic'd up, which I think would be a great thing for football.

I don't know why you think miking would make any difference. The fans who excuse players shoving and abusing refs would probably just pick the one time in a hundred the ref is less than fawningly deferential to a player to justify the thuggish spectacles that show up in every premiership match as gangs of players abuse referees.

The reason rugby players are polite is because governing bodies choose to back refs. The referee can march players 10 metres for back-chat. Being marched 20 metres down the pitch or having penatlies routinely reversed and *then* being marched shuts most gobshites up quickly. But it's the support that's crucial. At the end of the day Alex Ferguson or Stephen Gerard will never, ever, ever be meangingfully brought to account for routinely breaking football's rules with regard to the officials.

Hell, the Premiership won't even fine Ferguson for refusing to talk to the *sponsors* in violation of the rules.

"Although, as he points out, he currently plays in the fourth tier of Swedish football, working in the local Volvo factory to support himself, Hysén's honesty about his sexuality is a big deal. His family is a footballing dynasty in Sweden; Hysén's older brother, Tobias, is a Swedish international; their father, Glenn, was a tough defender who remains a celebrity in Sweden.".

Interesting. Is he that much worse a player, or is their some other reason he hasn't reached their exalted position.
posted by rodgerd at 11:44 AM on March 29, 2011


I appreciate what Hippybear is saying, but unless and until the general gay culture that is celebrated and communicated through Pride provides any outlet whatsoever for naturally masculine gay males, you can expect those males to check out completely. What’s in it for them?

Plenty. A sense of community for one.

Pride gets a pretty bad rap, and a almost entirely undeserved reputation of being an event exclusively for effeminate muscle daddy drag queens (which is a contradiction on a great many levels).

Really, those guys just have the best floats in the parade, and therefore make it onto the front page of the newspaper about 100% of the time. Behind the huge rainbow-colored float covered in shirtless hunks, the remaining 95% of the parade consists of organizations like the LGBT Lawyer's Association, PFLAGG, sports teams, musicians, theatre troupes, politicians, etc. It's almost boring. I'm pretty sure there were a group of gay accountants and librarians in the parade last year.

Hell. The Pride parades I've been to are beginning to resemble the 4th of July parade in my tiny 8000-person hometown, to an almost uncanny degree.

Sports teams too homophobic? Then, go ahead and make your own LGBT-friendly sports league, and beat the breeders at their own game. Here in DC, we've got about 30 recreational sports clubs that are either LGBT-dominated, or explicitly LGBT-friendly. Most of them are very good, and also provide their members with a nice social net to meet new people in the city. Obviously, this doesn't extend to professional leagues, but it is a very nice start.

Of course, as the tolerance for gay men and women grows throughout society, the necessity for Pride, and for these specifically-LGBT-friendly organizations becomes diminished, which has led to something of an identity crisis within the gay community. In many ways, this has been a good thing for the gay men and women who do not necessarily "fit the mold" (read: the vast majority of them), but has also left us without a sense of purpose. Given that this is very much an ongoing phenomenon, I'm not even sure that I can properly understand or articulate it (but if someone else wants to give it a try......)
posted by schmod at 11:55 AM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Interestingly, for a lot of footballers it's ok to have become 'gay icons', not always so reluctantly (sexy photos in magazines or ads for designer lingerie etc.), but they are all apparently super-heterosexual, and famous and rich enough, and with enough sexy wives or girlfriends, not to even start caring about any potential backlash from the less enlightened 'corners' of their massive fanbase.

Hysén's is a great story at individual level, but for football in general, it makes you even more depressed actually. The only one footballer to have actually come out in the whole world at this time is not even a pro and he's from Sweden? well thank you very much. Give us a gay Cristiano Ronaldo, and not just gay-icon Cristiano Ronaldo, then we can celebrate "football joining the 21st century" indeed.

(that's from the article on the survey, linked from main article:

One fan who completed the survey of 3,000 people explained: "A player finally having the courage to ruin their career by coming out [would change attitudes]. But it will be the end of their career as anything other than a 'gay footballer'."

Another suggested the move could even prove profitable. "He could make a lot of money [as] the first gay footballer." But only, "when football joins the 21st century"
.).
posted by bitteschoen at 11:58 AM on March 29, 2011


At the end of the day Alex Ferguson or Stephen Gerard will never, ever, ever be meangingfully brought to account for routinely breaking football's rules with regard to the officials.

Hell, the Premiership won't even fine Ferguson for refusing to talk to the *sponsors* in violation of the rules.


Fergie is currently serving a five match ban for criticising a referee. He also refuses to talk to the BBC (not the sponsors), because they ran a documentary that claimed his son was a criminal. He talks to other media, and his assistant talks to the BBC (some other clubs send their assistant, not the manager, also).
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:10 PM on March 29, 2011


unless and until the general gay culture that is celebrated and communicated through Pride provides any outlet whatsoever for naturally masculine gay males, you can expect those males to check out completely. What’s in it for them?

Pride isn't a spectator sport -- it's a participatory event. And it's about being visible and living without shame. So if the naturally masculine gay males or any other group want to be represented at Pride, they have to be there and be part of it.

I know, it's a difficult thing, trying to assert one's presence in the face of overwhelming glitter and pomp. But if I remember the bear movement, back when it was a movement and not an alternate circuit party/marketing niche, men often talked of a second coming-out, of emergence out of gay identity and into bear identity... that is to say, of stepping out of the stereotype and into (what they felt) was a more natural expression of masculinity within the gay umbrella.

It can indeed be difficult. I've encountered antipathy from pride organizers when I mention that I'm trying to get a bear group together to march. I've confronted hostility from men who would otherwise identify as gay, but who fight tooth-and-nail against the idea of marching in a Pride parade, because they don't want to be associated with "all those other types".

As far as what may be in it for them... Perhaps recognition of G/L/B/T/Q lives not always taking on the extreme? Maybe a more well-rounded picture by anyone witnessing pride as to the scope and breadth of gay identity in the 21st century? Hopefully a sense of
comradeship with others who, while not living congruous lives, have experienced similar over and covert hate and obstacles in life.

But you know? Pride is entirely what you make of it. And if you can get five guys-who-like-other-guys to march in Pride this year, maybe you can get ten to march next year, and maybe twenty the year after that. There's nothing wrong with having a Pride celebration which has more ordinary people in it than drag queens. Oddly, that's what real life is like, as well. And shouldn't Pride be a reflection of the ordinariness of gay life?

We are everywhere. We are fabulous. We eat breakfast in our underwear and mow our lawns. Get used to it!
posted by hippybear at 12:16 PM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


kenko -- you got it mate. You don't need to justify your preference for something. "Chocolate or vanilla ice cream?" "Chocolate." "Why?" "Because I like chocolate."

I like soft cheeses and you do not, thus let's agree that if we ever went to France, you would have hard cheeses and I will have soft cheeses. I will not bully you about your cheese choice nor will I offer you the lovely brie that I found.

If we get into the justification, I would rather start it on the straight side. "Why do you like women?" "Uh, because I do." Exactly.
posted by nickrussell at 12:33 PM on March 29, 2011


I long for the day when footballers will be not be verbally abused for the color of their skin, but for the content of their character.




You heard me, Mario Balotelli.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:01 PM on March 29, 2011


He also refuses to talk to the BBC (not the sponsors), because they ran a documentary that claimed his son was a criminal. He talks to other media, and his assistant talks to the BBC (some other clubs send their assistant, not the manager, also).

My understanding is that the reason Ferguson has never been punished for this is that the BBC has never bothered making a formal complaint about it.
posted by jonnyploy at 2:05 PM on March 29, 2011


Hysén's is a great story at individual level, but for football in general, it makes you even more depressed actually. The only one footballer to have actually come out in the whole world at this time is not even a pro and he's from Sweden? well thank you very much.

What about lesbian footballers?
"Victoria Svensson is the team Captain for the Swedish Women's Soccer Team. She came out in a Swedish newspaper."
posted by iviken at 2:52 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's because they don't have the balls to do it. Get it? Balls! Because they're footballers!

I made the same joke last time but I don't think anyone got it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:33 PM on March 29, 2011


Fergie is currently serving a five match ban for criticising a referee.

That's simplifying it. He's banned for constantly and repeatedly criticising referees, to the point he had to be punished. And how's he serving his punishment? By sitting in the stands and calling his assistants on the cell phone to tell them what to do.
posted by inigo2 at 5:05 PM on March 29, 2011


I question whether Anton Hysén is the world's only openly gay male professional footballer. There's too many teams in too many countries that only one just seems statistically improbable.
posted by Yakuman at 6:29 PM on March 29, 2011


One reason might be the Glenn Burke effect.

World's only openly gay male professional? That's a lot of qualifiers. I wonder if any of the others on this list might want to dispute that.
posted by Twang at 7:03 PM on March 29, 2011


I question whether Anton Hysén is the world's only openly gay male professional footballer. There's too many teams in too many countries that only one just seems statistically improbable.

I think this is where you get into the mess of what does it mean to be out in this context. I wouldn't be at all shocked if there were players who were out in the same way a non-footballer might be out, but that those players are people whose private lives aren't of interest to the general public. But, at the same time, they don't raise their hands and say 'Well, actually...' when the periodic articles about there being no out gay footballers get written. But to what extent are we entitled to expect they do so? I can't help but feel someone needs to be the guy who says something, but you can't fault someone for wanting to skip the media attention. Now, it seems Hysén just gone ahead and it's not as big a deal as we all thought it would be.
posted by hoyland at 7:12 PM on March 29, 2011


Now, it seems Hysén just gone ahead and it's not as big a deal as we all thought it would be.

In deference to the ugliest parts of my favorite sport, that remains to be seen. The Guardian article mentions that at the most well-attended and high-profile match of his career so far, Hysén received much more abuse, as did his teammates. And for "well-attended and high-profile", read "more than 1,500 people attended" and "local cup final akin to something like the Isthmian League Cup". With respect to Hysén, he is a semi-professional player playing in the 4th tier of Swedish football, which is basically a step up from the pub league. This isn't anything like a litmus test of homophobia in world football, and the evidence we have for higher-profile cases is tremendously depressing (Fashanu, Sol Campbell chants, Robbie Fowler's "bumming" taunts).

But, whenever I get depressed about it, I just think about FC St. Pauli and it cheers me right up.
posted by Errant at 9:21 PM on March 29, 2011


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