The footballer said that rugby fans were more progressive than football fans.
Arsenal right-back Héctor Bellerín has said that he thinks that football fans are “not ready” for an openly gay football player. The footballer recently quit social media after being insulted online. He often discusses things like fashion and politics on his Twitter page.
Speaking to The Times about his decision to leave social media, Bellerín said: “Most of the abuse is online, but you hear it in the stadium too. People have called me ‘lesbian’ for growing my hair.
“There are other kinds of homophobic insults. I have learnt to grow a thick skin but it can affect you. Every now and again, you get a bit of self-doubt.”
He then told the paper that it would be “impossible” for a professional footballer to come out as gay. “Some fans are not ready,” he said.
“When it happened in rugby with the Welsh player [Gareth Thomas], people respected the situation. The fans respected his decision. In football, the culture is different. It can be very personal, very nasty, particularly for players from the opposition team.”
Last year, Liam Davis made history by becoming the first openly gay footballer to play at Wembley Stadium when he played for Cleethorpes Town F.C. in the FA Vase final.
And last December, the #ComeOut2Play project launched aiming to get create an environment where gay and bisexual male players were able to be themselves.
“The EFL is pleased to support the upcoming Come Out 2 Play initiative, in order to help raise awareness, whilst also promoting the values of the game and ensuring football provides everyone with a safe and welcoming environment,” said EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey about the campaign.
At Brighton Pride this year, Paddy Power entered an empty bus into the parade to highlight the lack of openly gay Premier League footballers.
Explaining why they entered the bus, the company said: “While the LGBT community has scored some tremendous goals, when it comes to professional football, there’s still no gay in game”.
“Paddy Power took over the streets of Brighton to encourage our national heroes to become role models on the pitch and off it as well.
“Gay professional footballers, we’re ready when you are. Your fans have already come out to support you, now it’s your time to come out and play.”