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Discussion: Homosexuality – Football’s last taboo?

by on June 25, 2012

Hello everyone, I hope you’re all having a nice Monday. Going for something a bit different today, so please bear with me if I ramble at times.

It seems by all accounts that the transfer-o-meter is ticking over nicely, with Giroud now registering at a healthy 96% completion. The rumours today suggest that’s he’s been in London for his medical and that the deal will be announced some point soon, as we were already expecting.

Exciting times of course, but I was slightly let down by an article I saw on the Mirror website recently. It turns out that Olivier Giroud [recently voted the sexiest footballer in France] has posed on the cover of a leading French magazine designed for gay men. Here’s the article, complete with picture for anybody interested.

Personally, I found it a bit strange. Giroud is set to “make waves” in the Premier League. Why? It’s not unusual for footballers to pose without wearing many clothes. Surely it’s not because of the fact that he’s sending out the message that homosexuality isn’t wrong? He says that he “doesn’t see a difference between a gay person and a straight one” and that he hopes he can change attitudes.

A noble idea, so why does the Mirror claim that he could be in for some stick from opposition fans? We live in the 21st century, are we really still that conservative that a player can’t feature in a homosexual magazine without getting abuse from opposition fans?

I know a lot of people shrug it off as “banter”, but for me that’s not acceptable. When Andy Gray and that other guy that isn’t the guy on Soccer Saturday were found to have made repeated sexist comments, they were fired from Sky and castigated by most. They ended up at the only place people like them could really get a job. TalkSPORT.

We know about racism in football as well. It’s usually something the UK handles quite well. Racist abuse from fans usually means lifetime band from grounds and quite often criminal charges as well. [Although John Terry ruins things].

Homosexuality though? Although not particularly obvious, there does still seem to be an air of homophobia in football. Only recently, Antonio Cassano made comments suggesting that he would prefer it if there were no homosexual players on the Italian national team. Why though? If a player said “I don’t want black/white players on my team” he would face disciplinary action. If he said “I don’t want women supporting my team”, he would by widely castigated. Why is it different with homosexuality?

Is football society’s last refuge of “manliness”? Or is it just dominated by old-fashioned dinosaurs who can’t see past the prejudices they grew up with?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, so please if you have an opinion then leave it in the comments section below.
As always, you can find me on twitter @SavageGooner if you feel like calling me homosexual/homophobic. Alternatively you can like the blog on facebook.
Thank you for reading and as I said please comment below to help foster a discussion.

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34 Comments
  1. Prasan Kumar permalink

    Well reasoned mate!!Talent alone should matter in football just like any other profession!!Since football not only involves the person who is playing but millions of fans too,media people should be responsible with what they write,lest it sways opinions and promotes hatred and abuse!!

  2. Ukpunisher permalink

    Fact is ignorance is universal. No matter that a few of us ask questions like this

    Let me point out a few things that I’d thought were obviously stupid

    My neighbours eight year old plays outside until midnight

    I see people smoke in cars with their kids

    Some other neighbours let their teens ride on mopeds and mini motor bikes with no helmets.

    We live in a society where some people think it proves something to knife somebody.

    A paediatrician was murdered cos chavs thought that meant she was a paedophile.

    Why are you surprised at intolerance to homosexuality.

    God I am bitter lol

  3. hot topic permalink

    Sorry but the whole Homophobia / Racist / sexist thing is boring. Few people thought much of the fact that Mars Bars were thrown at Gazza, becuase it wasn’t the ‘in’ thing to fret about. All the various groups of people are big enough to look after themselves, regardless of race / colour / sex / preference, so we should all stop treating them as if they were different and needed protecting.

    There are too many bandwagons being jumped upon. When you jump on one, another will be just around the corner.

    Some of the things that are said and done may not be pleasant, but trying to sensationalise them isn’t the answer either (pro or con) it doesn’t make issues more acceptable to everyone in society, simply highlights that some people are different.

    • I can’t answer for anybody else, but I wasn’t even around when Gazza had Mars Bars thrown at him!
      With all due respect I don’t think I’m jumping on a bandwagon. I’m just asking why homosexuality is criticised less than other forms of discrimination in football. I don’t think I’m sensationalising anything either.

    • Ukpunisher permalink

      Are you in any of the groups. Because saying that people can look after themselves is naive in the face of things like racism. I’m not white. My wife is. Thankfully hardly ever experienced racism but the few times that I have are amplified because of their rarity. One time at a pub in saffron waldon the barman refused to acknowledge I was even there until my wife stood next to me and ordered. I was mightily angry. These people should be shamed and highlighted. Not left to me to look after myself as that solution would have been a lot nastier. Believe me I had ten friends holding me back.

      I can think of one bandwagon that got jumped on and nobody criticised. It was called nazism and led to a war.

      Stand up and be counted chicken. You are either against or condone.

      Do you condone prejudice???

  4. Good article, it shows to me that The Mirror newspaper is getting more like the Sun newspaper, it must be a slow news day. I have just noticed however that they have changed the headline to be more positive from their original negative one. So they should too. I sent them a tweet having a go at their agenda of the article.

    Freddie Ljungberg posed for a gay mag and it seems everyone accepted it, just rumours about if he was gay/straight or bisexual, didn’t get any abuse from the terraces so hopefully will be the same for Olivier.

    I like his quote where he says “I would be delighted if my ­gesture can help change the mentality of some people ­involved in football.”

    I could care less if someone is gay, straight or bisexual. So he posed for a gay mag, so what.
    My personal opinion is that I don’t think gay men will ever be accepted in football.

    • Yeah, I saw they changed that. I’m a bit too young to remember what the reaction was with Freddie unfortunately! I think you could be right in that gay men could often struggle in football, it’s often seen as a very manly sport where the adrenaline flows and emotions are high. One of my friends naturally replies with “What? Are you gay?” if they meet a guy who doesn’t support a football team.

  5. Very good article and it’s good that Mr Giroud has this attitude – it’s just a shame that it’s newsworthy at all. It would be nioce to live in a world where no one would raise an eyebrow at the sexual orientation of a magazine readership.
    I suggest the poster who finds these things boring might find it less so if they were the victim of racist, sexist or homophobic bigotry themselves.
    The depths of idiocy have truly been plumbed when someone tries to suggest that standing up to hatred and prejudice is “the ‘in’ thing to fret about”.

    • Thanks steww, I agree that it’s somewhat distressing that it actually becomes an article that he was on the cover of the magazine, but unfortunately I guess papers will do what they have to in order to get hits.

  6. Very true. But you have to remember news papers write what sells. I have seen much worse. These things take a lot of time to become acceptable. Unfortunately that is the truth. But things are much better today than say 10 years back and they will be much better 10 years hence. Sorry, to say it like this. But the John Terry incident has already tarnished the image of UK in some way. He should have been investigated by the FA.

    • Of course, but it’s just as distressing that articles like that are “what sells” in the first place.

  7. hot topic permalink

    Ljungberg posing on a gay magazine is actually the whole point. Hardly anyone knew and so few batted an eyelid about the pro or cons. It made no differnce to the gay community and it is unlikely many of them particularly wanted it highlighted / keep quiet.

    Papers and articles that talk about such subjects are missing the point. Generally people do not want to be the centre of attention, so why do you think it is ok to put minorities through the ‘looking glass’? You aren’t doing them a favour.

    At what point did this cease to be an Arsenal site, when a footballer posed on a gay magazine, or when a gay football announced themselves? Savagegooner, you are jumping on a bandwagon, because you have felt the need to stray away to a different issue.

    • Ukpunisher permalink

      Why do you feel compelled to comment if you don’t agree. It is an arsenal story about an arsenal player. Did u complain about all the comments about fabrice muamba as that was not about football. I bet not. That bandwagon was ok I guess. Read something else if u don’t like to broaden your horizons

    • Ukpunisher permalink

      And yet again are you a minority?

      I bet not seeing as you are deciding what’s best for “them”.

      • hot topic permalink

        What you mean is if my writing doesn’t match up to your expectations, I am obviously not in a minority. I believe the term is ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ and that is exactly what you have done.

        I do not like to be viewed as different, so don’t patronise me as if I am.

        And for the record YES I did comment on the Fabrice Muamba situation – I objected to people jumping on to a ‘bandwagon of mock abject grief’ for someone they didn’t know and, in reality, once out of the news many would forget about.

  8. Lambaku permalink

    Cassano was absolutely right for Italy, as other national teams and clubs. Imagine what it will look like in instances of a man kissing a fellow man in the pitch in appreciation of instant good performance displayed by the team-mate. Absurd, wouldn’t you say?

    • Ukpunisher permalink

      What?? So you have never kissed a girl in celebration. Total ignorance.

      Also I never kiss during football. But thats just me….

  9. Ciaran permalink

    im straight and id do him what a hot man

  10. A very useless article frm an unfortunate unGodly illiterate.a whole generation was wiped out 4 dat nd u wnt them in our dear futbol.ur humanity is destroyed(those dat bliev homos shud be allowed in futball)

    • Thanks for your constructive input.

    • I’m a Muslim, and your a cretin.

      I’ve been living outside the UK the last 15 years, a 7 hour flight from London. I go to watch The Arsenal, domestic and European games, about ten times each season.

      Like everything else at The Arsenal, we’re different. In our “group” of friends, we’re a mixed bunch of races, whites, blacks, chinese and me, the only one of asian origin. We’re all in our 40’s and 50’s and have been going to The Arsenal since our teenage years. When we were younger, we enjoyed the football violence and I’m proud to say we were highly respected up and down the country. The urge is still there today but we’re all a little more cautious now.

      Two seasons ago a group of us, 14 to be precise, went to Old Trafford. We stayed in a B+B on Canal Street, Manchester. Every bar and club we went into was gay . And we didn’t care less. The gay people knew we were “outsiders” but welcomed us. We had a great time. We chose the location and B+B intentionally because if you’re The Arsenal, it really doesn’t matter about sexuality, race, colour or religion.

      Grow up Ahmad, accept people for what they are with dignity, not what you want them to be with ridicule. Who cares if Giroud is gay and why should it matter?

      (This however does not apply to Heebees. They are cockroaches and deserve everything we give them. Simple).

      We’re The Arsenal, we’re different.

      R.I.P. The Bear – Always missed.

  11. Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely against homophobia and other fans chanting slurs at gay players. Banter or not.

    But you said this:

    ‘I don’t want black/white players on my team” he would face disciplinary action. If he said “I don’t want women supporting my team”, he would by widely castigated. Why is it different with homosexuality?’

    Because homosexuality isn’t an identity. It’s an act. Only very recently have people used it as an identity, though they’ve done so fallaciously.

    • That’s arguable, in my opinion. I don’t know what it’s like to be homosexual, but some people I do know who are homosexual say it’s not a choice they have made but just a way they have always felt, ever since they first felt romantic feelings. I take your point, but I would disagree that it being an identity is fallaciously.

      • Not sure you understood me. I won’t argue that a lot of people feel naturally inclined to homosexuality. That’s almost fact to me.

        I mean does it matter if you are a dog or a cat person? Does it matter if you prefer chocolate over vanilla? If you dislike Lebanese food, but adore Mexican? These things, like sexual orientation, are matters of personal preference-I’m debating with myself if they are grounds to constitute an identity. Wouldn’t it be silly if there were Mexican Food Pride Parades? ( I would go)

        Here’s another interesting point regarding homosexuality. A lot of people justify their being homosexuality by saying ‘I’m my own person, I am autonomous and I can make my own decisions-especially if I’m not impeding on others’ rights’. And fair enough.

        But then isn’t it high time we got rid of all incest laws in the Western world? Following the same logic a fully mature brother and sister, or daughter and father should be allowed to have a relationship.

        Yet in Britain an incestuous couple were recently jailed for being caught in an elevator.

        • Ah, sorry. I get you now! I think I understand what you’re saying, in fact I find it hard to disagree with you!
          For the record, I agree that adults should be allowed to do [in private] whatever they want as long as it isn’t detrimental to others. As far as I’m aware though, are incestuous relationships not detrimental to the health of any children produced as a result of that relationship [or children produced further down the family tree? That would be the only justification for incestuous relationships to be illegal I guess. Not that I think it’s right, but I appreciate that others may think differently to me.

      • I can’t reply to your newest comment for some reason.

        Anyways, I thought you would say that about incest. I did some google research and I found that the risk of a direct handicap is only around 3% higher than that of a normal couple’s.

        In addition, women over 35 who have children increase the risk of Down’s syndrome by over half!

        And we’ve come very far in rights for the handicapped. Not allowing them to have children might be seen as backwards in our society-maybe rightly so?

        Incest right groups (do they exist?) could use any of that to make a fair argument. It just shows how complicated these matter are, but what’s more how complicated our society is.

        England is against homosexuality, but it’s symbol-the royal family is plagued with incest. Paradoxes and contradictions galore!

        Which is why I tend to stay out of these things

        • Excuse the grammar

        • Fair play, you’ve got me there! I genuinely didn’t know that, I guess it’s just a kind of urban myth that incestuous couples are much more likely to have children with problems. In that case, I can’t really think of a reason to have incest as illegal then. Luckily, it’s not my job to defend the laws!

    • With which part? P.S. I don’t actually have much of an opinion on the matter, just trying to put across the different viewpoints!

  12. Nice one mate, I agree with what your saying (despite some of the negative comments on here). It must have taken a lot of courage to write on a topic as controversial as this and I don’t even understand why Olivier Giroud posing for a gay magazine has made news! I don’t suppose you know of the England cricketer, James Anderson? Check this article out: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/cricket/international/england/8016545/James-Anderson-does-cricket-proud-with-appearance-in-gay-magazine.html Football is one of the only sports which does not tolerate homosexuality.

  13. hot topic permalink

    You may not understand why some of the negative comments have been made, but accidently you hit the issue on the head:
    “I don’t even understand why Olivier Giroud posing for a gay magazine has made news!”
    And that is the thing, it isn’t news and it shouldn’t be either.

    Ukpunisher, so you felt put out by a barman. Are you really so niaive as to think he would behave that way uness he felt he had others around who would back him up. All you are doing is giving him a boost infront of any of his mates that read this.

    Having read you comments, I would say I am in more of a ethnic minority than you are.

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