I have an announcement to make – I am straight, I have been for all my life, I like girls, I have slept with some, and have fathered two children. You’re probably thinking, “So what? We’re not interested or bothered”. The now retired former German International, Thomas Hitzlsperger whose career took in Villa, Stuttgart, West Ham, Lazio and Everton, announced this week he is gay. A homosexual footballer, blimey!!! Now that is news, if you believe the tabloid press. Why is this statement from the German any different than mine? We are in the 21st Century, after all.
I find it quite annoying that the media seem more interested in what professional sportspeople and celebrities get up to in their own time. I couldn’t care less if the entire England team is gay, I just want them to play to the zenith of their abilities and beat the Germans next time we meet. A World Cup win in my lifetime wouldn’t go a miss, either. I played rugby union (arguably the most macho sport every created and competed) for a small non-league club in Warwickshire in my early twenties for a brief while, and I never looked at my team-mates and wondered who was ‘queer’ and who wasn’t. I merely looked at them and though, he’s a good player, he isn’t, he’ll end up in a fight and get sin binned, and he’s just here to make up the numbers – much like myself, to be honest.
It should not matter who went to a certain night club last night, who buys what brand clothes at what boutique, who goes on holiday where, and who drives what model car. I shouldn’t matter either, who is having an affair with who, who is cheating on their wife / husband, and who has a fathered numerous children around the country. We all have a private life, and it should remain just that. The press are persistently being lambasted for invasions of people’s personal space, and as gossip sells (it shouldn’t – be more concerned with your own life, not what others are doing), they’ll keep searching for their big story.
I have several work colleges who are gay, some of my friends are gay, and even a member of my own family. Does this matter ? Not at all. Not one bit. Who we choose to find attractive, have relationships with, even sleep with, is no-one else’s business but your own. The homophobic days of the seventies when every sit-com had a ‘camp’ character used for derision and ridicule are gone. On BBC TV’s Saturday morning ‘Football Focus’, they interesting chose two former players who were very outspoken in a slight homophobic stance in the past, former Liverpool and England forward Robbie Fowler, and former Leicester City and Wales midfielder Robbie Savage. Interestingly, both Savage and Fowler declared their comments in the past are no out of date, and apologised to a degree, when confronted with the Hitzlsperger story.
So, Thomas Hitzlsperger decided to tell the world he is homosexual. So what. That isn’t news to me – that’s just life. I’m more interested in the retirement of one of the finest midfielders to grace the Premier League, as the German hung up his boots once and for all last summer. A great loss to the game.