1. Joey Barton is backing a new campaign to tackle homophobia in football.
Stonewall has sent out rainbow-coloured laces to every player across the UK’s 134 professional teams and is urging them to wear them at this weekend’s fixtures. It’s part of the Right Behind Gay Footballers campaign, aiming to change attitudes in the game. The outspoken QPR player has thrown his weight behind the campaign.
2. He’s been showing off the rainbow laces on his Twitter.
Show that peoples sexuality shouldn’t be an issue. Join the rainbow laces movement. #rbgf @stonewalluk @paddypower
Alternatively, if you have glorious, flowing locks like I do, you can use the laces as a headband! #rbgf
4. The campaign aims to change attitudes in football, rather than urging players to come out.
Stonewall’s deputy chief executive Laura Doughty said: “It’s time for football clubs and players to step up and make a visible stand against homophobia in our national game. That’s why we’re working with Paddy Power on this fun and simple campaign. By wearing rainbow laces players will send a message to gay players and can begin to drag football into the 21st century.”
5. Supporters are encouraged to the use the hashtag #RBGF.
The campaign is supported by bookies Paddy Power. Their spokesperson said: “We love football but it needs a kick up the arse. In most areas of life people can be open about their sexuality and it’s time for football to take a stand and show players it doesn’t matter what team they play for. Fans can show they are right behind this by simply tweeting using the #RBGF hashtag whilst all players have to do is lace up this weekend to help set an example in world sport.”
6. There are currently no out professional football players.
The closest thing in the world is Swedish lower league player Anton Hysen, who came out in 2011. Stonewall crunched the numbers and worked out the probability of there being no gay player among the UK’s 5,000 professionals. Of a random sample of 5,000 people, based on a 6% likelihood, the chances are 1 in 2.29 × 10^134.
That number in longform, 22,947,321,563,647,480,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
That’s odds of a quadragintillion to one.
7. Barton has been continuing to tweet his support.
Join the rainbow laces movement. Sexuality in sport should not be an issue in the 21st century. #RBGF
Phenomenal response to the Rainbow laces movement. Some negatives but way, way more positives. This is what social media is all about #RBGF
9. Unfortunately, not everybody understood the point.
@Joey7Barton @liambousfield99 you do realise the colours of the rainbow is on the gay flag? So technically you have gay laces