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Mario Gomez tells gay footballers to come out

The Local · 10 Nov 2010, 16:31

Published: 10 Nov 2010 16:31 GMT+01:00

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The website of weekly newspaper Die Zeit reported that the 25-year-old Bayern Munich striker addressed the taboo of homosexuality in men’s sports, contradicting colleagues who have suggested such a move could ruin a player’s career.

“They would then play as though they’d been unshackled,” Gomez told magazine Bunte. “Being gay hasn’t been a taboo topic for a while.”

It’s an open secret that there are homosexual footballers in Germany's Bundesliga, according to Die Zeit, but there are no openly gay players.

“We have a gay Vice Chancellor, the Berlin mayor is gay,” Gomez said, referring to Guido Westerwelle and Klaus Wowereit. “So football professionals should also acknowledge their preference.”

Two of Gomez’s national teammates have spoken against coming out of the closet in the last year.

Werder Bremen Goalkeeper Tim Wiese said in April that such a player would be put down by “merciless” fans of a "macho" sport and Bayern defender Philipp Lahm told Playboy last year that the pressure would be too great for such players.

“The player who would out himself now has to do his job in front of tens of thousands of spectators,” he told the magazine. “Guido Westerwelle doesn’t play football in front of 60,000 fans every weekend.”

The German Football Association (DFB) has also admitted that openly gay players would be confronted with major challenges.

“The first in professional football who outs himself as a homosexual will not have an easy path,” said DFB president Theo Zwanziger in a newspaper interview in December 2009, according to Die Zeit.

But Zwanziger also pledged to support any player who chooses to do so with all of the Bundesliga’s resources, the paper said.

Story continues below…

On Sunday, Tatjana Eggeling, a media and gender studies expert at the University of Göttingen, told a sports show on broadcaster ZDF that she knew of fake heterosexual marriages set up for gay footballers in Germany and beyond to hide their sexual preferences.

While she wouldn’t name any players, Eggeling said there were even agencies to set up the terms of such marriage contracts.

The Local/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:09 November 10, 2010 by MonkeyMania
Thing is Westerwelle and other gay politicians don't have to shower together after a session in Parliament.
18:48 November 10, 2010 by FreiburgandCambridge
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:56 November 10, 2010 by ECSNatale
Yes FreiburgandCambridge because it is clear based on your level of intelligence that those two would be your parents.
20:30 November 10, 2010 by marimay
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
07:59 November 11, 2010 by Fatz Lewinski
I honestly have no real opinion on this except the fear that ss soon as we have a couple of gay players, we will have to suffer so much more childish German TV humour and gay jokes.

It would be a script waiting to be written for Bully Herbig!
10:10 November 11, 2010 by Gaffers
I think it was in the 80s that Justin Fashanu came out as a gay footballer in the UK and he was subjected to a lot of abuse. However times have moved on considerably and even, if on average, football crowds attracts a more homophobic element than is present in society overall it would not last if more players came out. It would be a positive step all round.

I doubt at all if we would even hear comments like "he's a player who likes to get around the back" or "He works hard and likes to get his head down". (sorry :-))
11:18 November 11, 2010 by tallady
A persons sexuality is their business ,It should have no effect on anybody else.The only issue is how well a player plays,not their sexuality.I would prefer not to know it's none of my business and I could care less about the subject.
13:51 November 11, 2010 by lordkorner
Assuming Gomez is not gay its easy for him to come out with this statement,no pun intended.
15:42 November 11, 2010 by SockRayBlue
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
16:01 November 11, 2010 by Gaffers
Polite and Self controlled? oh please ! So Homosexuals are not polite nor self controlled? Nice stereotyping and generalisation. That section of society harm no one and are vilified for their lifestyles. Religious, political and racist zealots are far more worthy of your scorn. They do more harm to society.

You may not agree but you have to acknowledge the gay community. It is real. Denial doesn't change anything.

It is not "Odd" behaviour and it is that kind of bigotory that is the root cause of this whole problem and discussion.
23:06 November 11, 2010 by nolibs
Who the hell cares? Seriously, does it matter if they are homosexual or hetero? Why is this news and why do they need to wear their sexuality on their sleeves to play football? Should swingers come out too so they can be "unshackled"? What people do in their bedrooms should stay there and has not place on the field or elsewhere.
05:18 November 12, 2010 by wenddiver
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
06:00 November 12, 2010 by NeilFootball
Gomez is right. And perhaps those gay players who know their colleagues are gay should all of them come out together, same day, same time, across their cities, perhaps even after a match, both winning teams and loosing teams... then we'll see how homophobic fans react to the surprising number of gay players who until that point they supported !

To those who say they don't care about who their football players sleep with or love, well, just don't be blind. We may be in the 21st century, but gay hate crimes surprisingly exist, even in the developped world. An occasional insult can be tolerated, but we are seeing murders. So, guys, don't fool yourself into thinking you are the only people who watch football. There are loads of other people who would definitely want to throw a glass bottle right at their goal keeper's face if they knew he's gay.

And those of you saying other sports are better, hey guys, have some sportsmanship. It is not just about enjoying your game but also respecting other sports. There may be more money in football, which makes it all the more difficult for the players to keep away from limelight when they play well, and their private lives come under public scrutiny. But why should it change your respect for a sport in its very essence?

Being a gay footballer doesn't really alter whether you are a male or half-male or such stupid question. Just before a player comes out, you like him. But just after that you hate him. Do you depend on him for the bread on your plate? Very likely not! So just as you exercise the right to walk hand in hand with your wife or girl friend, let him do the same with whom he loves without being attacked or sacked, even when the paparazzi tries to destroy his carreer. Show that you know how to respect someone who's different from you.
08:58 November 12, 2010 by jlmcnamara
Um, has he ever watched women's soccer?
15:51 November 12, 2010 by Deutschguy
The financial issue for gay footballers is losing out on, or not being selected for, endorsement of products. That's huge bucks that might be jeopardized if the companies who hire footballers know the player is gay and the gay player is out.

If the target market of your product is macho men or families, having an openly gay footballer might not be the best advertising choice. Not that the negative prejudice is justified, but it probably is a revenue and public image consideration.

That's the main reason gay players stay in the closet.
19:12 November 12, 2010 by secondlanguage
Yes, many of us Germans have known all about our soccer-lovebirds for a while.

Well, at least many suspected quite a lot for quite some time!

I can only say I plainly love them both and they warm my heart! Most uplifting

occurence that ever happened in soccer.

From an emotional point of view, I would just be delighted if they stood up for

each other and admitted their love.

But, on the other hand, I want to see them play their exceptional and gifted

football again, and if they´re coming out, I fear maybe they won´t, which is

just sad. This must change:

What would happen to them afterwards, when they´re out on the court again?

Audience is an unknown factor, granted. Of course there are tolerant,

sophisticated fans, but there are also the guys who treat football as a kind

of substitute-war, and I´m sure those twits can´t wait to yell "pansy" or "queer".

Another unknown factor are the referees; if they behave homophobic, who

is going to stop them from doing so?

Contracts and sponsors will be another point.

If they want to be represented by an openly gay player is dubious, it´s a shame!

Everything that should matter is the football they´re playing,

they´re both brilliant and unmistakeable.

Since after the world-championship, when this threat about "outing them" came

up, they´ve been sick with worry, clearly.

I can´t stand to see them like that, because for years they´ve been a source of

joy. Real rays of sunlight.

I wish them all the very best from the bottom of my heart, standing up for each

other, being true to each other and somehow keep up their career as well.
19:18 November 12, 2010 by randyman1956
There's so many more important things in life that I feel it's irrelevant if someone is gay. We should be striving to solve world issues. I'm not gay and I'm certainly not threatened by anyone who is. I've served in the military and I'm sure some of my fellow soldiers were/are gay and I had no problems with them. I think for their own safety that gays shouldn't openly flaunt homosexual activities. I have no problem letting them know that I'm not interested and that's that. I enjoy all sports and I don't care if a player is gay or not. I think it's stupid to stigmatize someone because they're gay. I'll refer to gays just like any other athlete. Shut up and play.
19:39 November 12, 2010 by Icarusty
Why, it is completely irrelevant. Does anyone go into their workplace and say, hey everyone I'm straight and I like women? It's just stupid.
01:30 November 13, 2010 by dunlenmer
I'm sure C. Ronaldo will be the first to come out.
10:08 November 15, 2010 by lmichaelj
N E W S F L A S H :

They are already showering together !


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