via ESPN’s Soccernet:
The chancellor said German politics had made a lot of progress to get to a stage at which politicians could, if they chose to, be open about their sexuality. Prominent gay politicians include the Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit - who said “I am gay - and that’s a good thing, too” - and foreign secretary Guido Westerwelle.
Merkal, however, said she was well aware that football has not reached that stage yet, explaining: “We have to acknowledge there are still fears when it comes to the social environment [in football]. We can only give a signal: You need not fear.”
Uli Hoeness, the Bayern Munich president, said he believed a professional player would come out “sooner or later” and urged the clubs to “be well prepared for it, so they can give the right response”.
While I applaud Merkel and Hoeness’ encouragement of gay players to come out, and to be supportive of them, I’m not sure what they’ll do when their encouragement works, gay players come out, and then they are alienated, maligned, scorned, and run out of soccer. That has happened before. For some reason, sport is just one of those theaters that hasn’t quite grasped that gay people (1) exist, and (2) can be very athletic. Either way, I suppose that fact that gay players’ existence is even being acknowledged is progress toward a more accepting sporting world.