Casey Stoney has thanked Arsenal for supporting her after she made the decision to come out as lesbian.
Speaking to Diva magazine, the Arsenal defender, who re-signed for the club in 2014 after spells with Charlton Athletic, Chelsea and Lincoln Ladies (now Notts County), said “Being at this club has helped me to come out, because they are so supportive.
“I got an email from the CEO [Ivan Gazidis] saying how brave I was and that he was 100% behind me.
“We [Stoney and her partner, Megan Harris] got sent beautiful flowers from the club when the twins were born too.
“When the top decision-makers are supporting you, you know you’ve made the right decision.”
Of course, as we know, not one single male player has taken the decision to come out while still playing but it is common enough in the women’s game that it is far from a big deal for the majority of people.
Does Stoney think that we will see a male player follow her lead any time soon?
“With the media the way it is, it would be a bit of a witch-hunt for that person and it puts a lot of pressure on them. They may feel they don’t ned to or they may feel it will be hugely important. I think it would be a positive thing for them, knowing what I know.
“But the men’s game is a different world to the one I’m in.
“We’re watched by maybe 1,000 supporters, the men are watched by 60-70,000 supporters. Sadly I can’t envisage [male players coming out] until the terraces change their attitude.
“I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to because of this.”
Stoney featured as Arsenal got their league campaign underway on Thursday with a 1-1 draw at Notts County.
Going behind to an innovative freekick, they left it late before grabbing an equaliser through substitute Chioma Ubogagu superb volley.
The full interview with Stoney can be read in this month’s edition of Diva.