Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has said he 'wouldn't advise' a gay footballer in the men's game to come out of the closet at present - since the casual homophobia that exists at matches could create a hostile environment for LGBT players.
Football has mirrored society as a whole in striving for more LGBT acceptance, but cases of high-profile male footballers coming out remain few and far between. Stuttgart sporting director Thomas Hitzlsperger - a former Germany team-mate of Kroos' - came out as gay in 2014, while former England international Justin Fashanu and American player Robbie Rodgers are the other notable cases.
That's in stark contrast to the women's game, where Meg Rapinoe, Sam Kerr, Casey Stoney and a host of other recognisable figures are openly not straight.
"...There's really not that many out athletes. It's important to be out and to live my life that way."— Queers Did That (@QueersDidThat) February 28, 2020
-@mPinoe (Megan Rapinoe)#QuoteFriday
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Speaking to GQ about the lack of LGBT representation in the men's game (as quoted by Marca), Kroos said: "My common sense tells me that everyone should live in full freedom, there is no doubt about it.
"That said, I don't know if I'd advise an active footballer to declare come out as gay. Certain words are often used in the game and, taking into account the emotions that exist at the stands, I could not guarantee that he would not end up being insulted and belittled."
En pleno mes del Orgullo LGTB+, Toni Kroos ha concedido unas declaraciones que dan en la diana del problema del fútbol con el colectivo gay. https://t.co/PRj3MywDfy— GQ España (@GQSpain) June 4, 2020
The Madrid midfielder continued: "This should not be the case and I am sure that a player who decides to take the step would have the support of many. But I doubt that this would be the case at an away ground.
"Each player has to decide for himself whether he considers it an advantage or disadvantage, although I think that even nowadays it wouldn't be full of advantages."
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