The English women’s national team captain Casey Stoney said that being a gay athlete should not be an issue and called for more effort to encourage work against homophobia in other sports, promoting the acceptance and inclusive that is in women’s soccer.
She told the BBC in an interview that “things are moving in the right direction regarding homophobia in sport.” Stoney’s comments come following the coming out of NBA basketball star Jason Collins and American soccer player Robbie Rogers.
She hoped that “Collins and Rogers are setting an example for others to follow.”
But she did lay some criticism towards Rogers, saying that she was saddened that he “felt he had to retire to do that, which is perhaps a reflection of the problems that still exist in the game on this issue.”
Ironically, this month Rogers was practicing in LA with Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy in what appears to be the hope of a return to the sport.
“It’s time prehistoric attitudes changed,” Stoney said, adding that fans abuse players for being gay.
“So I think it is that fear, more than anything, that is stopping a player coming out while they are still playing.
“As a fan, just because you have paid £900 for a season ticket, it doesn’t give you the right to abuse someone from the stands.
“Clubs also have a responsibility to take a stance on it [against homophobia]themselves.’
Stoney argued that while understanding the reasons professional athletes are reluctant to come out, she does however believe that the world will begin to see more openly gay people in sports.
“It’s a real sad state of affairs and it’s sad for the players who feel like they have to live their lives that way.
“You only get one life and you have to try and live it the best you can and be happy because you don’t get a second shot at it,” she explained.
While she believes that attitudes in society have improved she believes it’s “time football caught up, especially the men’s game.
“Being gay is not a problem and never has been. Players just don’t experience the same fears as they do in the men’s game.”