(Blogmensgo, schwuler Blog vom 27. Oktober 2017) Businessman David Haigh, the former director of Leeds United and openly gay himself, estimates that there are at least 20 gay players in the English Premier League and Championship who fear coming out of the closet. However, Haigh has not announced any outings in the Premier League.
David Haigh knows that these 20 players are gay but most likely, there are many more.
During his time with Leeds United (February 2013 to April 2014), Haigh did not hide his homosexuality at all, which is likely to be the reason for the other players to confide in him. Obviously, he does not reveal any names.
In any case, he recommends to the gay players to have a collective coming-out because this is likely to be received better by the fans.
I also think supporting gay players would be very beneficial to a club commercially.
Therefore, Haigh personally knows about 0.5% of the 4,000 professional players in the UK. The general public does not know any of them even though there may be rumors about individual players from time to time.
The interesting part is that according to Haigh, some of these gay players keep their sexual orientation a secret from their fans and the general public but live very openly in their private lives: Even their fellow team members, coaches, friends and acquaintances know about it in many cases, and some of them frequent gay bars and present their partners to other people in their proximity.
On the other hand, they usually fear that coming out of the closet might jeopardize their lucrative commercial contracts.
Haigh believes that the Fashanu era is over. Justin Fashanu had made his sexual orientation public years ago, which caused a wave of homophobia and hatred that ultimately led him to commit suicide.
In David Haigh’s time in the United Arab Emirates, he was frequently attacked due to his being gay. Here is a report about this period:
While Haigh was with Leeds United, the American professional player Robbie Rogers came out of the closet but ended his professional career at the same time. In the stadium in Leeds, he received standing ovations. It is about time now for other players to follow Rogers’ example and come out of the closet – but not end their career at the same time.