West Ham’s Matt Jarvis shows Attitude in call for football community to accept gay players
West Ham United star Matt Jarvis has used an interview in gay magazine Attitude to call on the football community to break the taboo of homosexuality and accept homosexual players.
The winger, who is married, became only the third footballer to appear on the magazine’s cover, following in the footsteps of David Beckham and Freddie Ljungberg.
In the interview, appearing in February’s edition of the magazine, he said he is convinced there would not be an issue if a footballer decided to come out as gay.
“It’s not something that’s going to be a shock”, he said.
“I’m sure there are many footballers who are gay, but when they decide to actually come out and say it, it is a different story.”
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Jarvis is confident that should a player decide to come out, they would be made to feel comfortable, and that it could enhance their performance levels.
“There’d be support everywhere within the football community, whether it be players, fans or within the PFA [Professional Footballers’ Association],” he said. “There would definitely be groups of people who would be supportive and help them through it.”
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The last professional footballer to come out publicly was Justin Fashanu in 1990.
Andy Wasley, from equality charity Stonewall, said Jarvis’ comments were “positive”.
“People perform best when they can be themselves”, he said.
“We have been calling for a long time to make sure if there is homophobic abuse, they (the authorities) know how to deal with it and do so quickly.
“We know they want to tackle it but we need to make sure they look at fans and the way they behave – but we are hopeful they will deal with it.”