Brave players should be commended for coming out despite hostile fans

There has been a growing silence when it comes to other gay Irish sportspeople coming out.

Thomas Hitzlsperger
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Have you seen ‘All Is Lost’? Robert Redford’s film about being stranded alone at sea in a stricken yacht makes you constantly ask the question: what would you do? Would you be as calm as Redford? How would you handle the loneliness and fear? Would your survival instincts kick in?

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This week we got an insight into the isolation and fear of a gay professional footballer. Former Premier League player Thomas Hitzlsperger (below) became the most high profile footballer to announce he’s gay. How did he deal with it during his playing days? He hid it. Four months after retiring, the 31-year-old German revealed his true sexuality. He said “people see a gay footballer as a contradiction in terms. And that is why virtually no professional player wants to expose himself to this kind of pressure”.

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Photo By Egghead06 (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

West Ham player Thomas Hitzlsperger warming-up before their game against Stoke City on 5 March 2011 which they won 3-0 with Hitzlsperger scoring the third goal.

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