Tuesday, 27 October 2009

I think I'm gonna hurl

The world of sport has always had a tricky relationship with homosexuality, with few successful sporting stars ever feeling confident enough to stick a trainer-clad toe outside of the closet. Most people can name Martina Navratilova or Billie Jean King, and occasionally someone might bring up Justin Fashanu, before recalling how badly that ended.

No-one knows exactly why homosexuality and team sports go together like Jodie Marsh and underwear. Some suggest it's the aggressively macho atmosphere on the terraces, others wonder whether there's an inherent fear that all the homoerotic bonding might be misconstrued. But whatever the reason, it's always big news when a prominent sporting figure decides to suck the bullet and come out.

Over in the Republic of Ireland, everybody's talking about hurling goalkeeper Dónal Óg Cusack, who told the Irish Mail that he plays for the other team (as well as Cloyne and Cork). As the popular Gaelic sport's first gay player, one might expect a few shockwaves, but in fact, Cusack's teammates have been charmingly laissez-faire about the whole thing.

Displaying an endearing naivete about the power of innuendo, Cusack's inter-county colleague Cathal Naughton claimed "We’re all fully behind him, he’s a great man and has so much for all of us." In the world of hurling, it seems that everyone's a winner.

With the 'Dieux du Stade' calendar now entering its tenth best-selling year and David Beckham appearing on the side of buses in underwear so snug that a Chippendale might reject it for being too revealing, it's clear that some pockets of the sporting world are finally cottoning on to the power of the pink pound.

However, it takes brave players like Donal to wake sporting institutions up to the fact that, for many gay followers, interest in the game goes much deeper than the tightness of the shorts.

1 comment:

  1. read about this fella? Ian Roberts, former rugger bugger (soz) turned actor. Saw this pic of him at Gay Icons exhibition. Gay in rugby league in Australia... tough gig I imagine... all those odd shape balls flying around (soz again)... I'll leave you to look for his 'acting photos' ...