Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The first gay cricketer

Surrey and England wicket keeper Stephen Davies has gone public with the fact the he is gay, the first professional cricketer to do so, and one of a tiny band of male athletes in all sports to be able to admit their sexuality.

It would be nice if we had reached a position where the public acceptance of a male sportsman coming out would cause a reaction along the lines of  "So what, just play the game." Yet the fact seems to be that sportsman, unlike musicians and actors, still feel under pressure about their sexuality and feel the need to keep their lifestyle hidden.

Davies, who made his announcement to the team and management before the start of the Ashes tour, joins Gareth Thomas and Justin Fashenu as being the only admitted gay in their particular sport.  This obviously cannot be the case, in the football leagues there are 92 clubs with squads of up to 30 players, so out of 2760 or so professional footballers, not one of them is gay ? It doesn't seem likely.  What does seem much more likely though is that gay players are afraid of the reactions of fellow players, team mates and opposition alike, and of the fans.

In a good way, I couldn't care less about Davis being gay, as with people in all walks of life whether sports stars, politicians or any Joe Bloggs on the street, your sexuality is your own choice and has absolutely no bearing on your job.

Now, if England can just crack on and win the World Cup...

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