The former footballer said a young closeted athlete turning away from sport could rob us of “the next Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Thomas Beattie, the former footballer who came out as gay earlier this year, has told The Advocate that a queer athlete turning away from sport could mean that we miss out “on the next Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Beattie came out as gay in June, writing a powerful essay for ESPN, in which he detailed the difficulties in being openly gay in a sport that is notorious for their lack of LGBTQ+ inclusivity.
Beattie said he never felt like being gay and having a career in football was an “option” because society has continuously told him that “my masculinity was linked to my sexuality – something we of course know is a false assumption.”
And now, in an interview for Inside with The Advocate, he has urged young queer athletes to find one person they can speak to, in order to feel that they can come out. “To be in silence and alone is a difficult path,” he said. “Having the ability to speak to one person is going to be a huge benefit.
“It’s a shame if you never fulfill a potential of a dream. You never know what you might be missing out on if you decide to go the opposite way and decide not to pursue sport as a career [because you’re queer].
“That’d be a real shame to look back and say ‘What if?’ You never know. We could be missing out on the next Cristiano Ronaldo.”
He added: “I would definitely persuade anyone in that position to continue playing and learn about themselves through sport. Learn about their character: their morals, their values, their beliefs.”
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