Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Rio Ferdinand (Wiki)
Rio Ferdinand has revealed he recently met a gay footballer player who has been advised not to come out publicly by his lawyer.
The sporting icon was giving evidence to a committee of MPs and peers in a discussion about the Online Safety Bill.
Speaking in London yesterday, the former Manchester United and England player explained that while he was at first "[taken] back" by the advice, he eventually came to understand it.
"I was initially like 'Wow, why?'"
Ferdinand told the committee: "I just met currently a player who had come out. He was advised by a lawyer not to come out and speak.
"I was initially like 'Wow, why? You need to come out, you need to speak and say your truth and be proud of who you are.'"
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The 42-year-old now-pundit then continued: "The reason why the lawyer advised him not to come out, which I now understand, is because every individual is very different and you can't use a blanket approach. Every individual is at a different stage of their lives and understanding themselves, their sexuality.
"He advised him based on his experience with that individual. He didn't think he was strong enough mentally at that time, and had the right pieces in place to be able to withstand the media attention, the spotlight, all of the different emotions that are going to come out, and pressures."
There are currently no publicly gay male players in English professional football.
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