Retired soccer star Thomas Hitzsperger came out in his country's Die Zeit newspaper drawing international attention in the run up to the 2014 World Cup. He reminisced about his past experiences sitting at the table with his clubmates when he was active on first German and then English teams as offensive jokes and remarks were made.
He told the paper he wants to move the conversation forward and challenge the ways that some in the sport and in the fan circles disparage men as effeminate when they want to criticize a lack of competitiveness in their play. He has received support from former teammates and fans including high ranking politicians. He told the press that it is time for gay players to be visible until it becomes a non-issue.
The World Cup will take over television sets globally starting June 2014; the 2010 games drew an average 3.2 billion viewers. In the US, Univision holds the Spanish-language rights to the 2014 games and advertisers are gearing up to join the fray for all those eyeballs.
GLAAD's Spanish-language media team will continue to work with our media colleagues to make sure that the coverage of the athletic spirit is inclusive and not offensive. Soccer is a highly loved game that families watch together throughout the world and a perfect stage for messages of a true team spirit that will encourage athletes and fans to accept all players for who they are as long as they come to play.