Gay rugby player Gareth Thomas says he has offered support to closeted footballer

The footballer was due to come out publicly last month, but when they failed to do so, speculation that it was a hoax or a botched PR stunt was rife.

Gay footballer wants to come out

Gay rugby player Gareth Thomas has said that he has been in touch with the closeted gay footballer in the closet.

Thomas who is one of the best known out sports stars told the Daily Star that he spoke on the phone with a player who has struggled with whether or not to come out and that he offered him support.

He said: “Away from the cameras, I reached out to him and offered him my support and gave him my number and he called me.

“I never asked him his name, but he told me the club he played for.

“He is a young kid who had an understanding of who he was but didn’t have an understanding of where he fitted in.”

He added: “There is vitriol towards him because he has decided that he is not ready for it. But it is his decision to make.”

Thomas made contact with the closeted footballer through the anonymous Twitter account ‘The Gay Footballer’.

The Twitter bio said that the account belonged to a “professional player, currently playing in The Championship” and detailed plans that he would come out on July 24.

However, on July 24, no announcement was made, and speculation began about how the account may have been a troll.

Screenshot of ‘The Gay Footballer’ Twitter account

Shortly afterwards, the Twitter account was deleted after posting the message: “I thought I was strong enough. I’m not.”

In recent years the Premier League has supported the rainbow laces campaign endorsed by the Stonewall charity.

“Clubs and communities are stronger when everyone feels welcome, and it’s down to all of us to make that happen. That’s why we, the Premier League, proudly stand alongside Stonewall in promoting equality and diversity”, Stonewall said in a statement.

The campaign involved players were wearing rainbow laces, armbands and a rainbow Premier League logo.

However, despite campaigns such as the Rainbow Laces project, increased LGBT+ support and programs supporting diversity in sport, there are no currently playing, high-profile players who are out to the public.

Thomas Hitzlsperger, formerly of Aston Villa, West Ham and Germany midfielder came out but only following his retirement in 2014. Speaking about coming out in the sport, Hitzlsperger says that some people advise players not to do so. However, Hitzlsperger recommends that they should “listen to your own voice”.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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