One of the topics discussed in recent years in world football and in general in team sports is the fear of players coming out of the closet and admitting their sexual orientation. Many did come out of the closet, but only after they retired, when their entire careers hid the truth, some even from their teammates.
Luis van Gaal, who has coached for a number of teams, as well as a number of national teams, including the Netherlands, was interviewed in his country by a community-affiliated Gaikrant newspaper and spoke at length about the complex issue.
“Yes, there are proud footballers, but not many,” the 68-year-old Dutchman claimed. “The football world is not a show to society.”
Six years ago, Van Gaal was seen marching in the Amsterdam Pride Parade, but there is no doubt that his words are not going to help those footballers who are afraid of being exposed. “You have to be unusually brave and have a lot of willpower to come out of the closet as an active player,” he argued. “It’s better for the players to keep what they feel close to them, because once someone really comes out of the closet, the pressure on him will be huge. It will make a lot of noise, and he will have to go through quite a few obstacles along the way. Will that player really be able to handle it?”
The veteran coach added: “Throughout my career, in all these years, there has not been a single player who told me he was gay. Really, not even one. That says enough. Proud football is always afraid of the results that will happen if it comes out of the closet. We pretend everyone has “Similar rights, but gays do not have the same rights. And I’m sorry about that. A large part of my country is still very conservative.”
“There were players I coached and I thought they might be proud of. I want to protect those players. A large part of them are married and have children. I can not do such a thing and expose them. I used to ask my players if they had a girlfriend, only years later I started asking If they are in a relationship. “