‘People are sometimes making it too much of a problem. It should be okay by now. We’re living in a different time, different world and people should accept that,’ said Arsenal legend Thierry Henry.
The retired French player told Sky News after news broke last week that two Premier League footballers are set to publicly come out before next season. There are currently no openly gay players in UK professional football.
He said, ‘I think it’s great, I think it’s great for the game, we’re going forward, it’s great for anyone, for any human being.
‘If you are confident enough to come and say it and then live with it and embrace it, then do it.’
The 38-year-old, who has played for Arsenal, Monaco, Juventus and Barcelona, added that he would not treat a gay team-mate any differently.
‘I can’t talk for everyone, but if I was in a dressing room, that guy would still have been my team-mate, and I would still give him the ball, I will still see him the same way, I would still go out with him. We’re all human beings at the end of the day, so it doesn’t really bother me.’
Henry, who is now a pundit for Sky Sports after a 20-year career in football, also suggested that the media attention and reaction a player might attract when he comes out could in fact be contributing to the problem.
He said that when Los Angeles Galaxy’s Robbie Rogers came out as gay, he was constantly asked about it.
‘And the first question, as you can imagine, everybody was asking me. I said: “For me it is not a problem, but making it a problem becomes a problem.”‘
‘Going around asking “do you think it’s right?”, “do you think it’s wrong?”, well, in the society we are living in, it’s OK. It’s normal. So why are we making it a problem? For me it’s not a problem. I can play with you… We are ultimately there to do a job.’
When asked if he thought it would be fans more than fellow players who might have problems with an openly gay player, he said, ‘I would like to think that we’re not going to start to hear any stupid chants because… it would be very stupid at the end of the day.’