Former France international Patrice Evra has claimed that some of his ex-West Ham United team-mates have expressed homophobic views towards gay footballers, including allegations that they would ask a gay player to leave the club and refuse to play a game after the Game to share shower room with them.
No player in Premier League history has ever come out as gay while playing in the English top flight, and Evra’s account of the reaction of his Irons’ peers to a visit from a The Football Association’s diversity officer offers an insight into the animosities an LGBT player might experience.
The 40-year-old, who previously played for clubs including Manchester United, Juventus and AS Monaco, said he was shocked at how many West Ham players said they would want a gay team-mate to leave the club.
“It’s like you can’t be a gay soccer player, people are going crazy,” Evra told Gabby Logan on the Mid Point podcast.
“I give the example when I was playing for West Ham someone from the English FA came up and said ‘We have to accept everyone’ and the number of players who said ‘No, if some of my team-mates are gay they have to go now. i will not take a shower [with them]“.
“I stand up and say, ‘Shut up, everyone shut up, can you hear yourself?’ We still don’t accept everyone. In the football world they are not open minded enough and it’s a shame.’
A 2017 BBC and Ipsos Mori poll found that 34 per cent of people aged 16 to 22 in the UK did not identify themselves as exclusively heterosexual, while an alternative study by Kantar TNS in the same year found that seven per cent of British men identified as straight homosexual and 5 percent as bisexual.
The only current top player in world football who publicly identifies as gay is 22-year-old Adelaide United left-back Josh Cavallo, whose story was widely shared when he came out on an emotional social media outlet last October. “I hope that by showing who I am, I can show others who identify as such LGBTQ+ that they are welcome in the football community,” Cavallo said at the time.
Evra insists he has supported several gay team-mates at all the clubs he has played for and listened to their stories as they came out to him.
He said to Logan, “I see [their fear] because even myself, when the players came to me, I thought: Be careful, because if you say it out loud, you will see the reaction of all the players. But I will support you and because I had such power in the dressing room I will protect you [you]I will support you.’
West Ham have not commented on Evra’s claims. The club were awarded the Premier League’s Equality Standard Advanced award in 2021.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/05/06/patrice-evra-claims-homophobic-west-ham-players-wanted-gay-footballers-to-leave-the-club-16597775/ Patrice Evra claims homophobic West Ham players wanted gay footballers to leave the club