The Football fraternity continues to take stands against racism and homophobia which still plague the beautiful game to this day.
Numerous campaigns against racism have been conducted, and the Premier League still encourages players to take a knee before kickoff to show their unity against racism.
Homophobia and transphobia have been highly discouraged by some of Europe’s biggest leagues, and Ligue 1 put that message front and centre during the previous matchday.
As part of an initiative for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, the French league featured players’ shirts and captains’ armbands with rainbow-coloured accents and flags.
Among those who participated in the initiative were league champions, Paris Saint-Germain. Players stepped onto the pitch with rainbow-coloured accents on the back of their shirts during their game against Montpellier.
However, there appeared to be a major absence in the Parisiens ranks, as midfielder Idrissa Gueye was nowhere to be seen.
This led to plenty of speculation, and reports from the French media have suggested that the Senegalese international opted out as he did not wish to play in the rainbow-coloured shirt.
While these reports are unconfirmed, the controversy drew attention away from the initiative, and instead, sent mixed messages about the state of homophobia in football. It would be unfair to pin blame on the midfielder as of right now, but one can’t help but feel that the controversy could’ve been avoided.
In stark contrast, and in a different part of Europe, there were open and proud displays of homosexuality.
Chelsea‘s FA Cup final hero, and FWA’s Women’s Footballer of the year, Sam Kerr was spotted kissing her partner Kristie Lewis after the Blues lifted the cup against Manchester City.
This was followed up by a landmark announcement from Blackpool FC’s Jake Daniels. Fresh off signing his first pro contract with the club, the forward, via a statement, came out as gay and also talked about the support he received from the club, teammates, agents etc.
These moments are great to see and offer hope that perhaps sentiments of homophobia and transphobia will be dispelled from football sooner rather than later.
Figures such as Sam Kerr and Jake Daniels have certainly helped pave the way for other players who wish to follow suit.