Professional soccer star Ruben Loftus-Cheek took to Twitter last night (16 January) to address rumors around his sexuality.
The 22-year-old is an English professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Chelsea, as well as the English national team.
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‘Any player who came out as gay, they’d have my full support and respect,’ he wrote on Twitter. ‘But the rumour isn’t true.’
He also used a fist bump emoji, to show his support for any potential gay soccer players.
Any player who came out as gay, they’d have my full support and respect 👊🏾. But the rumour isn’t true 😅
— Ruben Loftus-Cheek (@rubey_lcheek) January 16, 2019
The clarification comes about after reports he came out to his Chelsea teammates.
As it currently stands, there are no openly gay professional soccer players.
In fact, while there are a few pro soccer stars who identify as gay, none of them came out during their professional careers, opting instead to wait until retirement.
Soccer clubs in the UK’s Premier League sported rainbow colors in a show of support for LGBTI inclusion in sports.
The Rainbow Laces campaign is part of an initiative by LGBTI rights group Stonewall, which aims to ‘make sport everyone’s game’.
The campaign is particularly pertinent in British soccer, where homophobia has been rampant for years.
This is everyone’s game
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 1, 2018
Stonewall kicked off the Rainbow Laces initiative last month. A number of top clubs have come out to support it.
Clubs, including Chelsea and Arsenal, gave their logos a rainbow twist in their Twitter profiles.