Germany's foreign minister is gay and so is the mayor of Berlin, but gay players in the Bundesliga top football league remain firmly in the closet. The jerseys were part of an effort from the Deutschlandstiftung Integration, a foundation that promotes the integration of minorities, in collaboration with the the league to encourage religious and racial tolerance. InJustin Fashanu became the first professional football player in England to come out. In professional matches over the weekend, all 18 Bundesliga teams wore jerseys with the slogan "Go Your Own Way" "Geh Deinen Weg" instead of advertisements. Maybe my colleagues don't feel the need to do so.
That will come.
It was like going from one extreme to another, from zero to one hundred. But the idea of an active gay player giving an interview to the press, even anonymously, is totally unprecedented in Germany. Tatjana Eggeling, a former professor of cultural anthropology who advises gay professional athletes, including members of the Bundesliga, argues that hiding their sexuality is an enormous distraction for gay players and keeps them from performing to the best of their abilities. The chancellor was joined at the opening conference in Berlin by Uli Hoeness, the president of Bundesliga club FC Bayern Munich, who said that all clubs in the league have been advised to handle the event of players coming out and are well prepared to offer them support.
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