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Straight Soccer Player Says It's Time For Gay Athletes To Come Out

Matt Jarvis, who plays for the Premier League club West Ham United, makes an appeal to closeted athletes in latest issue of Attitude.

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Matt Jarvis striped down for Attitude, the gay-focused UK magazine, AND also took the time to discuss homosexuality in sports.

On why a gay athlete should come out:

"It's everyday life. It's not something that's going to be a shock. I'm sure there are many footballers who are gay, but when they decide to actually come out and say it, it is a different story. It's one that I'm sure they've thought about many times. But it's a hard thing for them to do."

On the idea that being out would enhance an athlete's performance:

"I'd agree with that. Because you've always got something you're worried about at the back of your mind. If you can let that go and then just concentrate on your one goal, which is whichever sport you're doing to the best of your ability, I think that would help. Definitely."


On why athletes should feel comfortable with being out:

"There'd be support everywhere within the football community, whether it be players, fans or within the PFA [Professional Footballers' Association]. There would definitely be groups of people who would be supportive and help them through it."

Jarvis also made history as the third (straight) soccer player to ever appear on the cover of the magazine. David Beckham graced the cover in 2002 and Freddie Ljungberg in 2006.