In the Scottish Sun this week, Scottish cycling champion Graeme Obree, encouraged other gay athletes to stay closeted. Obree, who is now retired, came out in January 2011. The article said:
I don’t think being gay and an active sportsman is a good thing. While I was competing and in a changing room environment there was no way I would come out. You’d always be worrying if other people were thinking, ‘Is he checking me out?’ There are SPL footballers who are gay, I know that for a fact. But if I was in their position there is no way I would come out. It would be too awkward in the dressing room. You need to be retired first.
I have to say that I don't quite agree that staying closeted and lying to everyone and yourself is ideal for anyone. If a few sportsmen were out, the gay "stigma" would be reduced and after a while, the press would even move on. Being in the closet is stressful enough and doing it in public must be even worse.
I appreciate that Graeme was in a great position to judge whether to have come out, but I am convinced that nothing will change until a few brave guys say: "I am gay, I am a professional sportsman, get over it". Views???
I've spoken about the ever cute Anton Hysen before who is a bit crazy on his own blog. He is a professional footballer, gay and out. He seems to be enjoying the whole coming out experience, appearing in magazines and on TV and radio. He says that his team mates have no problem and doesn't care when rival fans shout those oh-so-funny chants from the stands. Let's end with a picture from Anton's blog from a couple of days ago - he reckons after shaving that he looks 10 years old!