Gay men are so not scary in showers.
Yet according to the alleged comments of some professional football players in England who have absolutely no idea what they are talking about, gay people are somehow really scary once the kits are taken off.
The revelation comes from Patrice Evra, a former French professional footballer who said while playing for West Ham some of his teammates said out loud they would refuse to shower with gay teammates. By then, Robbie Rogers was already out and showering with his American Major League Soccer teammates.
“I’m setting an example, when I was playing for West Ham someone from the FA came and he said ‘we have to accept everyone’ and the number of players who were like ‘no, if some of my teammates are gay, they gotta leave now, I won’t shower [with them]”.
“I stand up and say ‘shut up, shut up everyone, do you hear each other? We still don’t accept everyone. In the world of football, they are not open-minded enough and that’s a shame.
We’ve heard this silly trope for decades that gay men could pose a threat to straight men in showers. The idea is that if you’re alone with a homosexual and a soap, he can… physically assault you? Look at you longingly with his eyes? Being unable to resist your naked body?
Scott Cooper is a former college football player who dated his teammates. He described what it’s like to be a gay athlete in the shower with his teammates – and wait for it – NAKED!!!
After hours of hard training in the 105 degree August heat, I was hot, sweaty, sore, bruised, tired and hungry. Hitting my teammates was the last thing on my mind. It doesn’t matter that they were like my brothers and they weren’t my type; I wanted nothing more than to wash off the grass and sweat and get some Gatorade and food.
Ryan O’Callaghan was locked up while playing for the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs. He talked about avoiding the showers when they were most crowded.
The crazy story some athletes tell themselves about showering with – gulp – a gay teammate is absurdly wrong. As Cooper, O’Callaghan and many others have described, the last thing a gay athlete is going to do is make their teammates uncomfortable.
A dozen years ago, I wondered where the fear came from. Did these straight athletes think they would be sexually assaulted by a gay teammate? As if gays formed a pack and ganged up on them in the shower?
Or were they worried about how other people would look at them if they agreed to be naked for five minutes next to a gay man while eliminating a difficult practice?
The truth is, there’s a lot of affection expressed between straight athletes on many men’s teams. Athletes embrace, hug, slap their bare buttocks in the locker room. They’re afraid that “good fun” might change if a guy is actually gay.
Except that’s not the case. There have been gay people on so many high school, college, and pro teams over the years, and they’ve integrated into the team.
Some guys dread the idea of showering next to a gay guy; Then when it happens, they realize that all the nonsense in their head was just that.
Yet absurd fear was the source of an infamous report by ESPN and Josina Anderson about Michael Sam’s showering habits.
It seems like every once in a while we have to deal with that, discuss what it’s like to shower with an LGBTQ person. Again, Cooper said it so perfectly:
Athletes are professionals who take their jobs very seriously, and the locker room is no different. As a friend once told me, “You don’t meet your honey where you make your money.” I assure you, gay athletes do not play sports so they can undress with their teammates. This goes not only for the NFL, but for all levels of sport. When we talk about the brotherhood (or brotherhood) of a team, it means that these players are part of the family and are treated as such.
While he spoke directly to the nonsensical chatter around Sam, Cooper’s wisdom speaks far beyond the NFL and American football.
Should Premier League players fear a gay teammate in the shower? Reject it? Of course not. There’s no way the player is doing anything untoward.
Still, “straight” players should probably do a little soul-searching to find out why exactly they have such a problem with a gay indulging in the antics that already happen in locker rooms across all sports. That might be more revealing than anything else.