Per Mertesacker thinks football may not be ready, still, for ‘homosexuality’, and I have to say his assessment is probably right on the money.
As we sit here in 2019, we still do not have an openly gay footballer playing in any of the top leagues. Only when players retire from the game or play under a smaller light do they feel safe enough to express who they really are.
Homophobia is still rife in society and it is widespread in football which acts as a magnified mirror for the worst of us at times.
While many have become more at ease with the reality that queer people exist, there are many who have not and those people are the reason people feel safer in the closet. It is only ever straight people who ask what the big deal is these days. Queer folk know only too well the reality.
Mertesacker was speaking to Sport1 and he was asked about the issue in relation to the young players in his charge. As usual, he was honest with his thoughts.
“It’s a tough topic, along with many others,” Per said when asked if he talks to young players about homosexuality and about his previous comments on the importance of creating an environment where young players felt they can be open.
“The question is, when is football finally ready for such issues?
“That’s the challenge we all have to face.
“I opened up after my career (about his nerves before games), Thomas Hitzlsperger (came out) also.
“We also wanted to show that it was a big problem for us to talk about that and put that aside. We felt the need to make it easier for people in the future. We wanted to be positive examples and make it clear that it is important for the personality to be free.
“But I also know that this is a difficult topic and could also be a sign that football is not ready for homosexuality.”