In an interview with UK's Attitude magazine, West Ham footballer Matt Jarvis (who is straight and married, sorry boys) insists that it's time gay footballers (read: soccer players) felt comfortable enough to come out. "It's everyday life," said Jarvis, "It's not something that's going to be a shock."
"I'm sure there are many footballers who are gay, but when they decide to actually come out and say it, it is a different story. It's one that I'm sure they've thought about many times. But it's a hard thing for them to do."
The Daily Mail brought up the first (and only) English professional footballer Justin Fashanu, who came out in 1990. Fashanu was the victim of "considerable abuse" and took his own life in the late '90s.
Jarvis, 26, believes a modern player would receive greater backing and acceptance if he decided to come out: “There’d be support everywhere within the football community, whether it be players, fans or within the [Professional Footballers' Association]. There would definitely be groups of people who would be supportive and help them through it.”
Jarvis was also asked if being out could improve a player's performance, he responded: "I'd agree with that. Because you've always got something you're worried about at the back of your mind. If you can let that go and then just concentrate on your one goal, which is whichever sport you're doing to the best of your ability, I think that would help. Definitely."
Fellow heterosexual athlete and LGBT activist Ben Cohen has tweeted how great it is that Jarvis is standing up to homophobia, and we agree. Jarvis also joins David Beckham and Freddie Ljungberg as the third footballer to be featured on the cover of Attitude.