England and Wolves footballer, Conor Coady, has once again expressed his support for the LGBTQ+ community, and closeted footballers. In an interview with GOAL, he said that there will soon come a day when being gay will be a “part of everyday life” in the sport.
Coady notes that while players may be fearful of fan reactions to their coming out, fellow teammates in the dressing room will offer full support.
“As a footballer, I can say that if anyone wants to come out, wants to speak to me, have a chat about things then anyone in our dressing room would be open. I have never come across a footballer where this would actually affect them [negatively], if a player wanted to do that.
“By the way, I think the first player to do it would get a reaction, then for me, it would just become everyday life. That’s something everyone is waiting for.”
"Our sport is the best sport in the world, and I honestly believe it should be a sport for everybody"
Wolves captain Conor Coady was named Football Ally of the Year at the British LGBT Awards ?️? pic.twitter.com/7Yg4nypIMG
— Goal (@goal) November 9, 2021
The player was named as the Football Ally of the Year in 2021 at the British LGBT Awards, receiving more public votes than the likes of Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson and Jurgen Klopp, as well as pundit Gary Lineker. Coady was recognised as an ally after his participation in a Rainbow Laces event, where he said any player struggling with their sexuality could confide in him.
Since receiving the award, he has continued to express the importance of equality in the game.
“I’m a big advocate that our sport is the best sport in the world, and I honestly believe it should be a sport for everybody,” he begins.
“We should try our best to make everyone feel included, feel as one. Equality is a massive word, and when it comes to LGBTQ stuff, I’m big on making people feel involved. If someone wants to enjoy watching or playing football but is not feeling part of it, that would be horrible.”
In October this year, Josh Cavallo made history as he publicly came out making him the only openly gay professional male footballer competing in a top-flight league. The women’s game, on the other hand, champions LGBTQ+ visibility, and being a queer player is completely normalised.
On this, Conor Coady says: “There’s a lot to be admired about the women’s game and how it has developed over the last few years. That’s the biggest thing we can take, how normal it is [to be an out LGBTQ+ player] […] that’s where we need to get to in the men’s game.”
At the end of the day, being gay does not affect how one plays, and the Wolves captain states, “The big thing for me is to be there for anyone who wants to come out, and once they’re out that’s that, it’s normal, it’s life. You don’t then associate that with playing ability, you associate that with your team and working as hard for them as they do for you.”
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