Liam Davis, who plays for Cleethorpes Town, is the highest profile footballer to be recognised as homosexual, but he doesn’t think the FA’s plans for a group of gay Premier League players to come out together will go down well.
FA executive, Greg Clarke, has said that several players are in discussions with the FA about a potential group outing to restrict the amount of media coverage one player would have to face, if they were to be the first one.
Greg told the Times: “I put the message out there that if a number of top-level pros want to come out, why don’t we synchronise it? So one person doesn’t have to come out on their own.”
However, Liam does not agree and told SunSport that: “Although, in principle, I welcome the sentiment of what Greg is saying in trying to dilute the focus, I still fear the spotlight will end up on the most high-profile player of that group.”
The semi-professional footballer came out three years ago and was pushed to the forefront of the media’s attention, after he became the UK’s highest profile player since Justin Fashanu came out in 1990.
Liam does question the sudden change of heart from FA Chairman who has not always supported the idea of a top-flight player coming out.
“Although I welcome that the FA are thinking and talking about this issue, it’s strange that Greg has changed his tune a bit.
“Not long ago, he was saying how he didn’t feel football was the right environment yet for someone to come out as gay. Now it is,” he said.
The only openly homosexual star believes that the first professional player will feel like a “sacrificial lamb” or being known as “the first”.
However, he does back teammates to get behind the player in question if they come out.
Liam said: “Team-mates wise, unless its people who come over to this country with a different view, a gay footballer is going to get backed to the hilt.
“It’s the outside influences that will be his big worry. Someone at Premier League level would be concerned about it all becoming a big circus around him.”
Premier League players and clubs recently backed Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign and the FA have consistently backed equality in the nation’s most loved game.
Words Danny Wearin