Top-flight English soccer player and outspoken LGBTQ ally Conor Coady believes that openly gay players will become part of “everyday life” in the sport.
Speaking with GOAL, Coady said that he would welcome conversations with any closeted players who wanted to come out to him.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers center-back, who recently won Football Ally of the Year at the British LGBT Awards, said that his teammates would be similarly supportive.
“As a footballer, I can say that if anyone wants to come out, wants to speak to me, have a chat about things, then anyone in our dressing room would be open to the idea,” Coady said. “I have never come across a footballer where this would actually affect them, if a player wanted to do that.
“By the way, I think the first player to do it would get a reaction, then for me, it would just become everyday life. That’s something everyone is waiting for.”
"Our sport is the best sport in the world, and I honestly believe it should be a sport for everybody"
Wolves captain Conor Coady was named Football Ally of the Year at the British LGBT Awards 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/7Yg4nypIMG
— GOAL (@goal) November 9, 2021
Coady, who believes that football is “the best sport in the world” and “should be a sport for everybody,” is passionate about using his platform to help others feel comfortable being themselves and to create a level playing field for LGBTQ footballers.
The soccer player, who also plays for England’s international squad, received his Football Ally Award following his involvement in a Rainbow Laces event, where he welcomed any player struggling with their sexuality to confide in him.
He also said that he would proudly wear the rainbow on his armband and discuss LGBTQ issues “week in week out, instead of once a season.”
“When it comes to LGBTQ stuff, I’m big on making people feel involved,” he told GOAL. “If somebody was to enjoy watching football and playing football, but then not feel a part of it, it would be horrible. The word equality is massive for me, and if I can help anyone in any way possible, that’s a really big part of it.”
He added: “Footballers have noticed now they can use their platform to try and help as much as possible, and that’s just what we’re all trying to do. Ask any footballer in the world, and I think they would say they would help if they can.”
Coady also believes that trans footballers should be allowed to play. Last month, the U.K.’s Sports Council Equality Group released a much-criticized report saying that “for many sports, the inclusion of transgender people, fairness and safety cannot co-exist in a single competitive model.”
“Football is for everyone who wants to be involved,” Coady said. “It is the most exciting sport in the world, and should be enjoyed by absolutely everybody.”
Coady’s comments come after Australian soccer player Josh Cavallo became the only openly gay top-flight player in the world after coming out last month.
Cavallo came out in a series of social media posts, including a video shared on both his and Adelaide United’s Twitter accounts announcing, “I’m a footballer and I’m gay.”
“All I want to do is play football and be treated equally,” Cavallo said in the video. “I’m tired. Trying to perform at the best of your ability and to live this double life, it’s exhausting. It’s something that I don’t want anyone to experience.”
He added: “It’s been a journey to get to this point in my life, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to come out. I have been fighting with my sexuality for six years now, and I’m glad I can put that to rest.”
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!