Sports Illustrated: Way Out West


Image via buzzfeed.

Gay people like sport too. You’d never know it if you were to read up on the subject in the UK mainstream sports press, where coverage of ‘the gay issue’ extends to hubristic editorial pondering the absence of out n’proud players in the elite game.

If they bother to acknowledge it at all.

We’re led to believe that negativity towards homosexuality in sport  in the United States are just as bad, and yet the Sports Illustrated’s Superbowl preview this week carries a feature on gay football followers and the above photo of two 49ers fans kissing after their side qualified for the second most watched sporting event in the world.

Is this madly progressive? It’s not as though Sports Illustrated is a niche publication. It is reportedly read by 23million people a week, 18million of whom are men. The decision makers at the magazine obviously feel that the majority of their readers can cope with exposure to the idea of gay people enjoying sport, so they’ve run with it.

There’s a lesson for the English media there. Stop bellyaching about the ‘gay’ issue and just acknowledge that there are thousands of gay soccer fans in the UK, they have plenty to contribute and are more than capable of attending a game (or even watching one in a bar) without trying to have sex with members of the same gender.

You never know. If we stop making it an ‘issue’, it might go some way to stopping it being one.

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