Italian men’s national soccer coach Cesare Prandelli recently stepped forward as an advocate for gay athletes when he wrote the foreword for a book on homosexuality and sport.
But at least one of his top players doesn’t share his view that gay players should be encouraged to come out — or play for their country at all.
Italian striker Antonio Cassano — who started in Italy’s 1-1 draw with Spain in its Euro 2012 opener Sunday — was asked about reports that there are two metrosexual and two homosexual players on the Italian team.
“What’s a metrosexual?” Cassano asked. He then added: “Queers in the national team? That’s their business. But I hope not. . . . But I don’t know.”
In his foreword to the book “The Champion in Love. The Banned Games of Sport.” by Alessandro Cecchi Paone and Flavio Pagano, Prandelli wrote:
Homophobia is racism and it is indispensable that we make further steps to look after all aspects of individuals living their own lives, including sporting figures.
In the world of football and of sport in general there is still a taboo around homosexuality. Everyone ought to live freely with themselves, their desires and their sentiments.
We must all work for a sporting culture that respects the individual in every manifestation of his truth and freedom.
Hopefully soon some players will come out.
While a number of athletes have revealed their homosexuality after retirement, no American athlete in one of the four major team sports — baseball, football, basketball and hockey — has come out while still playing.
Last week, former NFL defensive back Wade Davis publicly revealed his homosexuality for the first time in an interview with Outsports.com, saying he hopes an NFL player will soon have the courage to come out to pave the way for others.