Clarke Carlisle, a former British soccer star, is calling for more education to stop discrimination and hatred against the LGBT community.
He told BBC Radio 5 that fellow players should receive more teaching about homosexuality, in order to combat homophobia. He added that he thinks that this will also help players feel more comfortable about coming out of the closet.
He’s played for a variety of clubs, including Blackpool and Queen’s Park Rangers, and has admitted to using homophobic language in the past. He also revealed that bigoted views were somewhat commonplace in the locker rooms of the UK teams he’s played for. Carlisle, a former Professional Footballer’s Association chairman, admitted that:
I’ve used the language that now I would be really disgusted to hear.
I used it really flippantly, maybe thinking it was banter. But it was only by awareness and interaction and actually understanding the effect and power of the words that I was using on someone who is homosexual that I got an understanding and started to address my base-level language use.
The 34-year-old athlete added, “That progressed to being able to be in a dressing room over the last three years of my career and actually being able to challenge others.”
Last year, Carlisle revealed that he’d spoken with eight gay professional soccer players in the UK who were closeted and said that one of them could out soon. As of yet, none of them have.
There have been no openly gay male soccer players in England since Justin Fashanu came out in 1990.