(from Huffington Post)
Stonewall are attempting to raise awareness of homophobia in the game with the backing of Paddy Power, whose conduct has been branded “embarrassing” by one Premier League official.
The Mail report one Premier League club representative as saying “the whole thing has been embarrassing and infuriating”.
Paddy Power posted pictures on their Twitter account of clubs’ grounds who had received the laces delivery, which is believed to have intensified the anger.
Everton are the only team who will wear the laces, although Paddy Power is their official betting partner.
Manchester United outlined why they would not be wearing the laces in a statement. “The club supports the League’s central anti-discrimination efforts through Kick It Out,” the United statement read. “It is a positive move that Stonewall are now speaking to the League directly, rather than working with a commercial provider on a campaign without involving clubs or players at any stage.”
Sunderland added they were “not entirely comfortable with the third-party commercial link” and Tottenham said there was “no prior consultation with ourselves”.
Joey Barton, who was accused of making a homophobic gesture at Fernando Torres three seasons ago and called Brazil defender Thiago Silva a “ladyboy” earlier this year, has endorsed the laces along with Fulham defender John Arne Riise.
There are no known openly gay footballers in the English and Scottish professional leagues. Former Leeds and United States winger Robbie Rogers retired in February, announcing his sexuality and claiming he could not have continued his career due to the “pack mentality” that changes the way footballers behave. He later reversed his decision to quit the game and signed for the LA Galaxy.
Before Rogers’ revelation, only two footballers had publicly said they were gay. Former England Under-21 international Justin Fashanu was the first professional footballer in Britain to come out, in 1990, before he took his own life eight years later, aged 37. Swedish lower league player Anton Hysen – son of former Liverpool defender Glenn Hysen – also came out in an interview with a Swedish football magazine in 2011.
Full article here.