A step further? Memorial stand named after gay footballer Justin Fashanu.
A number of football clubs are doing great work in supporting the LGBT cause, including Norwich City who supported Norwich Pride at the weekend.
Many people were very supportive of the move and praised the club for its commitment to diversity and equality. However, not everyone was happy about it, including one individual who complained: “What the hell has this to do with football?”
Norwich’s reply? “Everything.”
One of the club’s great heroes was Justin Fashanu, who came out as gay in a tabloid interview in 1990, and had to contend with homophobia, prejudice and discrimination throughout his career.
He killed himself in 1998 after allegations that he sexually assaulted a teenager in the US came to light, which he strongly denied.
In total, Justin made 103 appearances in all competitions for the Canaries, scoring an impressive 40 goals.
Britain’s first million pound black player serves as an inspiration in the fight against homophobia and all forms of discrimination within football.
It’s a sad indictment that in the year 2016, there isn’t a single openly gay footballer in the Premier League.
Amal Fashanu, Justin’s niece, claims she knows of seven gay players currently playing in England’s top division, adding that the footballing world is “an extremely dark” place, where the behaviour of stars is often kept hidden from the public by clubs.
“I’m not going to out them because I would never do that,” she recently told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“You want to be honest, even to help them out, but you just can’t do that. The football world is extremely dark.
“I don’t even want to imagine being a footballer, what it must be like.”
We are calling on the LGBT community, and our allies, to request Norwich City FC commemorate one of its own. By honouring Justin Fashanu, naming a stand in his memory at Carrow Road, it would send a clear signal to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions that still exist around gay men in football today.
A fitting tribute to a young man who paved the way to make the wider attitude to gay sports people more tolerant and more accepting. In doing so he paid the ultimate price with his life.