Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki
David Beckham says it's a shame that someone coming out in 2022 is considered a "strange thing"
The former Manchester United player, who now owns a football team in the United States, was commenting on the state of the sport after 17-year-old Jake Daniels became the first British pro to come out since the late Justin Fashanu.
At the time Daniels, who plays for Blackpool FC, said he thought he'd have to be retired before he came out.
"I saw a lot of racism and homophobia"
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Beckham says "I played for 22 years, I saw a lot of racism and homophobia and do think it has changed. But there’s still a lot of work to be done."
Commenting on Daniels' coming out he adds, "It’s a shame that when someone does come out that it’s such a strange thing. I’ve always felt that way about when someone does come out… it shouldn’t be.
"At the end of the day there will be a huge amount of gay people in sports and why should they be any different from anyone else."
Beckham's comments about the state of homophobia come as the footballer works with Qatar ahead of this year's World Cup.
According to reports, part of the deal he signed with the Middle-Eastern government is that he will promote culture and tourism. The reported £150 million deal has been widely criticised with people calling on Beckham to back out of it.
In April, a Qatari security official warned fans planning to travel out for the World Cup that rainbow flags could be confiscated. Fans had previously been told this wouldn't be the case.
As a result, Chris Paouros, from the English Football Association’s inclusion advisory board and a trustee with the anti-discrimination group, Kick It Out said such inconsistency "is concerning to say the least."
In March, 16 LGBTQ groups signed a letter warning of safety risks and concerns for fans travelling for the World Cup.
The World Cup takes place in Qatar from 21 November to 18 December 2022.
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