Frank Lampard has challenged existing ideas that footballers are all “macho”, suggesting that attitudes towards sexuality on and off the pitch have changed significantly.
The former England midfielder was asked by Alan Carr on his Chatty Man show whether the British public would ever be likely to “see a gay footballer”.
“Statistically there should be loads,” Carr said. “One in ten are gay aren’t they? Fifty-thousand professional footballers, one of them must be.”
“I think a lot of the problem is, as you say, it’s a fact that it will be out there, as it is in all modern life at all times, but I think we are probably at fault as a sport,” Lampard replied.
“I think that it’s that old syndrome where it’s a man’s game and you can’t talk about that. I have to say the game’s changing a lot.
Landmark LGBT TV moments
Landmark LGBT TV moments
1/9 EastEnders gay kiss - 1989
EastEnders becomes the first British soap to screen a kiss between two gay men. The Sun branded the landmark kiss between Colin and Guido as a “ love scene between yuppie poofs”.
2/9 Orange is the New Black – 2013
The Netflix series features lesbian and bisexual women of different colours and sizes, but its greatest accomplishment is the honest portrayal of its transgender character, Sophia Burset (played by Laverne Cox).
3/9 Brookside lesbian kiss - 1994
Brookside followed suit as the first to screen a lesbian kiss when Beth and Margaret shared a passionate embrace.
4/9 Lesbian lead on US TV - 1997
US TV gets its first ever lesbian lead, as Ellen Morgan (played by Ellen DeGeneres) came out in a special two-part episode of ABC's Ellen.
5/9 Primetime TV gets gay characters - 1998
Will & Grace debuts on NBC as one of the first primetime US series to feature lead gay characters. Actors Eric McCormack and Sean Hayes played Will and Jack on the successful show that ran for eight seasons.
6/9 First lesbian drama series - 2004
Television gets its first predominantly lesbian dramatic series in Showtime's The L Word.
7/9 Glee - 2009
Glee is the television show with the most number of regular and recurring homosexual characters, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Glee has won four Golden Globes, including a supporting actor nod for Chris Colfer—who played bullied open gay character Kurt Hummel.
8/9 Modern Family – 2009
The Emma-winning and progressive ABC series features an interracial and extended family along with leading gay characters Cam and Mitchell as the adored married couple.
9/9 E4's Cucumber, Banana and Tofu – 2015
Russell T Davies' recent trio of programmes bring a sensitive and serious yet funny portrayal of contemporary queer life with gay and lesbian lead characters—Henry and Scotty.
“There are a lot of campaigns. I feel it in the dressing room. There’s a different feel about it.
“I would love it if someone came out and everyone treated it with respect. You know that thing about ‘we’re macho we play football’, is very old hat.” His comments follow the public coming out of Leeds star Robbie Rogers, who made the admission about his sexuality shortly before retiring from English football in 2013.
Thomas Hitzlsperger, who played for Aston Villa, also came out ahead of his retirement in 2014.
Justin Fashanu was the last Premier League player to come out publicly. He did so in 1990. He suffered a torrent of homophobic abuse, before taking his own life in 1998 amid sexual assault allegations. More recently, Arsenal stars Theo Walcott, Mikel Arteta, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were among those to show their support for LGBT charity Stonewall's Rainbow Laces campaign.Reuse content