Two English Premier League players are reportedly planning to come out as gay, and Luke Shaw is denying the rumors that he is one of them.
The injured Manchester United back spoke out this weekend against the rumors that he is gay, an attempt to put a stop to the growing speculation that he was one of the players preparing to come out.
Shaw responded to a tweet from a Manchester United fan account, which denounced the “idiocy” of the rumors and said it would not matter even if he was gay.
Shaw responded: “it’s not me so everyone can shut up now.”
— Towleroad (@tlrd) October 25, 2015
The denial came amid what could be a historic event for the Premier League, with gay players reportedly planning to come out and go against what many feel is an atmosphere of distrust and homophobia both among fans and in the clubhouse.
But the players reportedly felt the atmosphere had been shifting enough that they no longer had to hide their sexuality.
“The stigma has completely gone, and the public are far more accepting,” a source told the Mirror. “At this level of football, being gay is almost the final frontier. It has always been such a macho game and, unfortunately, perhaps more than in any other sport, there can be an aggressive mob mentality in the stands.
“But finally the tide is turning and more and more sports people are openly gay.”
— Independent Voices (@IndyVoices) October 25, 2015
The gay Premier League players have reportedly already told close friends and family and are supported in their decision.
The Mirror may know the identities of the gay Premier League players, but the report said they would not be disclosed. The report noted that another player came out to close friends in 2011 and was close to making it public, but chose against it when an anti-gay slur was painted on his car.
The Premier League’s gay players could be following a plan set by fellow athletes in the United States. In 2014 there were widespread reports that an NFL player was planning on coming out as gay, and the report then grew to claim that several players were planning on coming out at the same time.
But the reports soon fizzled, and no players have yet to come out.
In the meantime, an openly gay player did find a spot in the NFL system. Former Missouri standout Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, though he did not make the team. Sam ultimately left the NFL and played briefly in the Canadian Football League, and has said be believes his sexual orientation played a role in him not making an NFL roster.
Sam also noted that other gay players confided in him, including some “famous” ones, ESPN reported.
“I am not the only gay person in the NFL. I’m just saying there is a lot of us,” Sam said. “I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL.”
“The players who have reached out to me and told me about their sexual orientation, it just means a lot. But I will never say anything about who they are, what teams they are [on]. I’m just saying there’s some famous people, and I’m not the only one.”
There could still be some time before the gay Premier League players come out. The Mirror’s report said they planned on coming out sometime before the start of the next season.
[Image via YouTube]