Germany's Gomez: Gays should be open
A top soccer player took a stand against homophobia Wednesday when he urged gay colleagues to come out of the closet, German newspaper Die Zeit reported.
Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez, a major star of international and club soccer, said homosexuality was treated as a "taboo topic" in men's sports. No active professional has come out publicly in Germany, a trend mirrored across the soccer world that Gomez urged his fellow players to buck.
“They would then play as though they’d been unshackled,” Gomez, 25, told German celebrity magazine Bunte.
Die Ziet said it is widely known that there are homosexual footballers in the country's premier league, the Bundesliga.
"We have a gay Vice-Chancellor, Berlin's mayor is gay ... professional football players should commit to their inclination," Gomez said, referring to openly gay lawmakers Guido Westerwelle and Klaus Wowereit.
Gomez, a former German player of the year who has scored 14 goals in 44 games for his country, is the most high-profile player to address the issue. His stance goes against that of international teammate Tim Wiese, who warned in April that any gay player who revealed his sexuality would be ridiculed by "merciless fans."
Another German teammate, Philipp Lahm, told Playboy last year that the pressure would be too great for players to be open about being homosexual, saying Westerwelle does not have to perform in front of 60,000 spectators each week.