British gay Prime League footballer in closet


This 9 February 2020 video says about itself:

Only 8 male football players have come out as gay. There can be extremely negative consequences for male footballers who come out. Mocking, insults: homophobia is widespread in men’s football, and that clearly explains why only 8 male players have come out as gay.

Far more than eight male soccer players have come out of the closet. The video should say ‘8 INTERNATIONALLY WELL-KNOWN PROFESSIONAL players’.

An open letter by a British gay Prime League footballer today:

As a kid, all I ever wanted to be was a footballer. I wasn’t interested in doing well at school. Instead of doing homework, every spare minute I had was spent with a ball. In the end, it paid off. But even now I still have to pinch myself when I run out and get to play each week in front of tens of thousands of people.

However, there is something that sets me apart from most of the other players in the Premier League. I am gay. Even writing that down in this letter is a big step for me. But only my family members and a select group of friends are aware of my sexuality. I don’t feel ready to share it with my team or my manager. That’s hard. I spend most of my life with these guys and when we step out on the pitch we are a team.

But still, something inside me makes it impossible for me to be open with them about how I feel. I dearly hope one day soon I will be able to. I’ve known since I was about 19 that I was gay. How does it feel having to live like this? Day-to-day, it can be an absolute nightmare. And it is affecting my mental health more and more. I feel trapped and my fear is that disclosing the truth about what I am will only make things worse.

So, although my heart often tells me I need to do it my head always says the same thing: “Why risk it all?” I am lucky enough to earn a very good wage. I have a nice car, a wardrobe full of designer clothes and can afford to buy anything I want for my family and friends.

But one thing I am missing is companionship. I am at an age where I would love to be in a relationship. But because of the job I do the level of trust in having a long-term partner has to be extremely high.

So, at the moment, I avoid relationships at all. I dearly hope I will soon meet someone who I think I will be able to trust enough. The truth is I just don’t think football is ready yet for a player to come out. The game would need to make radical changes in order for me to feel able to make that step.

The Professional Footballers Association say they are ready to help a player to come out. And they have said they will offer counselling and support to anyone who needs it. This is missing the point. If I need a counsellor I can go and book a session with one whenever I want.

What those running the game need to do is educate fans, players, managers, agents, club owners basically everyone involved in the game. If I was to make that step I’d want to know that I would be supported at each step of my journey. Right now, I don’t feel I would be.

I wish I didn’t have to live my life in such a way. But the reality is there is still a huge amount of prejudice in football. There are countless times I’ve heard homophobic chants and comments from supporters directed at no one in particular.

Strangely it doesn’t really bother me during the matches. I am too focused on playing. It’s when I get back on the plane or the coach and I have time to think that it gets to me. As things stand my plan is to carry on playing for as long as I feel able to and then come out when I have retired.

It was great last month to see Thomas Beattie raise his hand and admit to being gay. But the fact he had to wait until retirement tells you all you need to know. Footballers are still too scared to make the step while they are playing.

For the past year I have been getting support from the Justin Fashanu Foundation, not least to cope with the toll this is all having on my mental health.

It is hard to put into words how much the Foundation has helped. It has made me feel supported and understood as well as giving me the confidence to be more open and honest with myself especially.

Without that support I really don’t know where I’d be now. I know it might get to the point where I find it impossible to keep living a lie. If I do my plan is to retire early and come out. I might be throwing away years of a lucrative career.

But you can’t put a price on your peace of mind. And I don’t want to live like this forever.

Dutch women’s national team lesbian football player Vivianne Miedema, playing in Britain, says: ‘Gay male Premier League players, please come out of the closet. Even just one man coming out will help lots of other players’.

The Dutch football league president says that professional football club bosses stop gay players from coming out of the closet for fear of losing money.

COVID-19 stops Texas Major League Soccer


This 7 July 2020 video says about itself:

FC Dallas OUT of MLS is Back: Commissioner Don Garber says the tournament will go on | ESPN FC

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber joins SportsCenter on ESPN the decision to send FC Dallas home ahead of the MLS is Back Tournament. Garber expresses the league’s emphasis on the safety of players and personnel and the effectiveness of the protocol inside their bubble in Orlando, Florida. He also says the tournament will go on as planned, beginning with the first-ever meeting between Orlando City and Inter Miami on Wednesday, July 8 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

FC Dallas has to miss the restart of Major League Soccer (MLS). Ten players of the Dallas club appear to be infected with coronavirus. …

The United States soccer league starts again … after a few months of no football because of the outbreak of the coronavirus. The MLS, which had only two rounds of play before the coronavirus interruption, is being completed in tournament form at Disney World in Orlando.

So, in Florida.

While teenagers and others die of COVID-19 in Florida. While Disney corporation workers protest again dangerous premature management reopening schemes.

Egyptian footballers refuse unsafe play during pandemic


This 3 July 2020 video says about itself:

Egyptian giant Zamalek to boycott league [Football Planet]

Uncertainty still lingers in the forthcoming 2021 CAF. The cancellation of FIFA dates in September further complicates the CAF’s 2020 games.

In Egypt, after issuing several threats, Zamalek has finally taken action. The frustration of some clubs with the decision to resume the championship takes a dramatic turn. The Cairo-based club has announced that it will not be resuming the season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This 3 July 2020 video is called From Scarred Lungs to Diabetes: How COVID May Stick With People Long-Term | SciShow News.

Russian soccer, Israel, Palestine, coronavirus pandemic news


This 17 April 2020 video says about itself:

As the surge in cases of coronavirus continues, cultural diversity has led to different approaches and even misunderstandings in the fight against #COVID19 around the world. As part of our determination to keep connected in this time of global isolation, we are joined by internet influencers from the U.S., the UK, Italy, Iran, Japan, and Israel.

Social influencer from Israel, Raz Galor, shares stories of mask donation between China and Israel.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel has risen sharply, with 859 confirmed infections in the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, 980 cases, the Times of Israel writes.

That is the largest increase in one day since the outbreak began. The number of confirmed cases in the country now stands at 25,547.

In another report, the Times of Israel reports that the Palestinian Authority is also concerned about the spread of Covid-19. A lockdown in the West Bank will apply for five days from Friday, a spokesperson said. All government buildings are closing and shops must also keep the doors closed, except supermarkets and pharmacies. Travel for nonessential reasons is prohibited during lockdown.

Also translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

The problems pile up in the football league of Russia. FK Orenburg refuses to continue playing under the current circumstances.

For the second time in four days, the club is absent from a competition game because of the many infections within the selection. Ten Orenburg players and staff members are already battling covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

FK Rostov, where six players tested positive and which had to quarantine the entire squad, gave way a week and a half ago under the pressure of the Russian Federation and sent a youth team against FK Sochi to fulfil their duty. The result was a record loss (10-1) and a Champions League ticket that is at risk.

Stand firm

At Orenburg, however, they stand firm. Then no football. “Such matches will not be of interest to fans and in our opinion will damage both our club and Russian football,” the statement said.

There are still five rounds to finish. Zenit Saint Petersburg is ahead with a street length, but for both the distribution of European tickets and the battle at the bottom, the mutual differences in the rankings are minimal.

Before the first cancellation, Orenburg already got a regulatory 0-3 defeat, which means that the club is now last in the highest division. The game against Ural would be played on Wednesday afternoon, about which the league will decide later.

German slaughterhouse millionaire, no football boss anymore


This 29 June 2020 German video says about itself (translated):

Schalke fans protest against board member Clemens Tönnies

Football club fans have formed a human chain in front of the home arena in Gelsenkirchen. They demonstrated against the management of the association, which also includes meat entrepreneur Clemens Tönnies.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Controversial meat baron Tönnies resigns as director of Bundesliga club Schalke 04

Clemens Tönnies leaves as chairman of the board at Schalke 04 after almost twenty years, the German football club reports on its website. The 64-year-old businessman is under attack for the disappointing sports performance of Schalke 04 and the recent coronavirus outbreak at his meat factory Tönnies Fleisch.

Schalke 04 did not win the last sixteen Bundesliga matches, finished in twelfth place and again did not qualify for European football. It is the worst series in history. Even before the coronavirus crisis, the club from Gelsenkirchen balanced on the verge of bankruptcy. …

Coronavirus outbreak

Two weeks ago, a major coronavirus outbreak was diagnosed at a branch of the Tönnies meat factory in Rheda-Wiedenbrück (in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia). More than 1,500 people tested positive in the slaughterhouse, making it Germany’s biggest source of infection.

According to the authorities, Tönnies violated the coronavirus rules, endangering the entire region. About 7000 people had to be quarantined. In the slaughterhouses of Tönnies, many foreign workers work under appalling conditions.

Mr Tönnies also got much criticism, including by Schalke players, for his anti-African racism.

Coronavirus in United States soccer, Australia


This 10 June 2020 Mayor League Soccer video from the USA says about itself:

MLS Is Back Tournament! What You Need To Know About Return To Play

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

In the highest United States soccer league (Mayor League Soccer), twenty players tested positive for the coronavirus. The virus has also been diagnosed with six staff members. …

The remaining games will be completed during the MLS is back event, July 8 through August 11, at the Disney World complex in Florida.

Florida, a COVID-19 hotspot where infections are on the rise. Disney World, where the workers oppose the bosses’ dangerous premature for-profit reopening plans.

Also from NOS radio:

Australia reports the largest daily increase in coronavirus infections since April 11. 85 people have been diagnosed with the virus in the past 24 hours. Most new infections came to light in the state of Victoria.

Police, racism and anti-racism


Footballers take a knee in solidarity with anti-racist demonstrations

This AFP photo shows women footballers at the German match Bayer Leverkusen-SGS Essen taking a knee in solidarity with anti-racist demonstrations.

By Bethany Rielly in Britain, 16 June 2020:

Cumbria‘s police seven time more likely to fine BAME people than white people, new figures show

CUMBRIAN police are almost seven times more likely to fine black and ethnic minority (BAME) people under coronavirus laws than white people, new figures show.

Figures obtained by Liberty Investigates, part of the human rights group Liberty, determined the ethnic breakdown of fines issued by 25 out of 43 police forces in England and Wales.

It found that 18 were more likely to issue fines to BAME people, with Cumbria police demonstrating the most disproportionate use of fines at 6.8 times.

ASSA TRAORÉ (centre), sister of Adama Traoré, killed by French police in Paris in 2016, taking part in the Paris health workers' demonstration

This photo shows Assa Traore (centre), sister of Adama Traore, killed by French police in Paris in 2016, taking part in the Paris health workers’ demonstration, along with firefighters.

Colonial abuses haunt France’s racism debate. By Lucy Williamson, BBC Paris correspondent.

From daily News Line in Britain, 18 June 2020:

French Police Chokehold Mutiny

NATIONWIDE demonstrations in France on Tuesday demanding better pay and resources for health workers were the subject of repeated police attacks.

18,000 people attended demonstrations in Paris during a national health workers’ strike.

Police fired tear gas

Officials said … more than 30 arrests were made.

Across France, hospital staff have been demanding government action on pay, recruitment and more beds in hospitals.

Unions say the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the French health system and want a major boost in investment.

In France, the number of people confirmed to have died from coronavirus infection reached 29,439 on Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, the French government has retreated before its own army of riot police.

The French government has dropped plans to ban the use of the controversial and deadly chokehold method during police arrests following agitation from the police unions, who threatened strike action if they were not allowed to choke their victims.

The government’s ban on the chokehold has now been binned after the police organised five days of their own demonstrations.

The death of Adama Traoré in Paris in 2016 has been likened to the killing of George Floyd. Protesters in France held signs displaying his name and have accused police of using brutality towards minorities.

Mass demonstrations led Interior Minister Christophe Castaner to announce that there would be ‘zero tolerance’ of racism in law enforcement, and a ban on the chokehold method – where pressure is applied to the neck of a suspect.

But police unions and officers, in a series of counter-demonstrations, rallied on the Champs-Élysées, throwing their handcuffs on the ground.

On Monday, national police director Frédéric Veaux sent a letter to staff clarifying the announcements made by the interior minister. In it, he said the measure would no longer be taught in training schools but could be used ‘with discernment’.

Footballers against racist police violence


This video from the USA is called Megan Rapinoe Kneels During USWNT [the United States women’s national soccer team] Match National Anthem v. Thailand – September 15, 2016.

Like American football player Colin Kaepernick before her, Ms Rapinoe knelt as a protest against discrimination in the USA.

This caused venomous attacks on Ms Rapinoe by Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch. The United States soccer bosses, cowards like their American football counterparts, reacted by banning anti-racist protests.

Recently, the international football (soccer) association FIFA decided that footballers should not be punished for kneeling against racist police violence.

And United States soccer bosses may follow suit.

This 9 June 2020 video from the USA is called US Soccer considers rescinding the kneeling ban.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Men’s Football: Mikel Arteta supports Arsenal players in protesting against racial injustice

ARSENAL manager Mikel Arteta was proud of his players for their support of the Black Lives Matter campaign ahead of their friendly with Brentford on Wednesday.

The Gunners wore t-shirts with a variety of messages on them, such as “I can’t breathe”, “My skin is not a crime” and “I’m not black but I stand with you”, in support of the protests going on around the world.

They also took a knee before kick-off, a symbolic way to show support, popularised by American football player Colin Kaepernick, which is also being reviewed by Olympic organisers.

Qatar World Cup stadium construction, without pay


This September 2013 video says about itself:

Qatar World Cup 2022: migrant workers forced to work for no pay

Qatar, one of the richest countries on the planet, will be hosting the World Cup in 2022. But much of the Gulf state’s expansion is being built by some of the poorest migrant workers in the world.

In the worst cases, employees are not being paid and work in conditions of forced labour. Each month dozens of young Nepalese migrant workers are returning home in coffins.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Stadium builders in Qatar work for seven months on World Cup stadium without salary

Stadium construction workers in Qatar worked for seven months without getting paid for it. That reports human rights organization Amnesty International.

It is said that about a hundred foreign workers are building the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor. The World Cup will take place in Qatar in 2022. The opening match is on November 21. The final is four weeks later, on December 18.

The workers told Amnesty about the hardships they endured working for months without receiving a salary.

“They are concerned about their families”, said Steve Cockburn, head of the Economy and Social Justice Department at Amnesty International. “Their families depend on the money they send home from Qatar.”

Partly paid

The human rights organization recently raised the matter with the Qatari authorities, the world football association FIFA and the local organizing committee. Amnesty says that a number of employees have now received part of their salary, but that many salaries still need to be paid. …

“This case shows how easy it is still to exploit workers in Qatar, even when building one of the crown jewels of the upcoming FIFA World Cup,” said Cockburn. “For years we have urged Qatar to reform the system, but the change has clearly not come quickly enough.”

Cockburn thinks FIFA might have brought about those changes. “If FIFA had held its World Cup partners to account for the past decade and used its power to push Qatar to completely reform its systems, we wouldn’t hear the same stories of workers’ suffering.”

Anti-racism among footballers, Jews, worldwide


This 4 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Police Arrest Kneeling Protester for Giving Speech | NowThis

In US news and current events today, one of the most iconic and disturbing moments to come out of the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd occured in Charleston, South Carolina, when 23-year-old Givionne ‘Gee’ Jordan Jr. was arrested by police for giving an impassioned plea for peace and unity.

Every peaceful protester arrested may be an affront to the 1st Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech from the Government. The George Floyd protests have shined a spotlight on police brutality and police violence, and this example is one of the most chilling ever recorded of a peaceful protest being shut down by police overreach. BLM protests continue across the nation, while the ACLU has pledged to investigate the case of Mr. Jordan and other peaceful protesters and journalists who have been attacked by police.

Today, Dutch NOS radio reports that Denzel Dumfries, footballer of PSV Eindhoven, will train separately from his teammates for the time being.

That is an anti-coronavirus precautionary measure. It is because Dumfries yesterday was one of thousands of demonstrators in Rotterdam city against the murder of George Floyd and other racism. The demonstration was near the Erasmus bridge, where it was expected that there would be enough space for spatial distancing. Still, so many more people came than expected, that for some demonstrators keeping one meter and half distance became impossible. That did not happen to Dumfries. Still, as a precaution, he will now train separately.

View this post on Instagram

Proud Black Man Here in front of you is a proud black man. Proud of his skin color. A man that fought his way up. That has won racial slurs against him and is still confronted with this on a daily basis, and will be above it. I am standing here for my fellow man who has to deal with the same issues daily. Those who share that deep-seated pain, those who comprehend that pain. For them, I am standing here! Racism is a global problem that drastically needs to be tackled. IT’S BEEN ENOUGH! Our lineage needs to grow up in a world full of equality and chances without the feeling of being discriminated in whatsoever form. I am proud of my skin color and of the people that came today that did not stay silent. Together we shall conquer racism!! #blacklivesmatter ❤️

A post shared by Denzel Justus Morris Dumfries (@ddumfries2) on

Not only Dumfries, also Memphis Depay, Dutch player in French football club Lyon, was at the Rotterdam demonstration. Two days earlier, he had also been at a big demonstration in Amsterdam.

What happened at that Amsterdam demonstration? It was organised by two small organisations, an anti-blackface movement and an organisation of African Dutch transgender people. Both used to less than 100 people coming to their events. On Facebook, 300 people said that they intended to come. But often, people on Facebook say they will come, and then they don’t come. Police estimated about 250 people would join the anti-racism demonstration on Dam square.

The organisers painted signs on the Dam square to enable spatial distancing.

Amsterdam George Floyd demonstation, ANP photo

The Dam square is big enough for thousands of demonstrators. However, very many more people joined the protest than the organisers and the police expected; as this ANP photo shows. So, spatial distancing became impossible. And both the Dam square and the streets around it became crowded.

UPDATE, 18 June 2020: So far, only one person present at the Dam demonstration is known to have coronavirus. It is not known where the infection of that person happened.

Today, Amsterdam municipality has decided that during the coronavirus pandemic, there will be no more demonstrations on the Dam. Demonstrators will go to the much bigger Museumplein square.

After Amsterdam, there were also anti-racist protests with thousands of participants in Groningen and The Hague. There, there was enough space for everyone to safely adhere to anti-COVID-19 measures.

Translated from NOS radio:

“I see what is happening in the world and what is happening in the Netherlands,” said Depay on Wednesday evening in the television program Beau about his presence at the protests against racism. “I experienced it from an early age. I thought it was my duty to stand there.”

Depay also said that he personally still faces racism. “Recently I was called banana picker. It is not said face-to-face, but on the internet.”

Jewish antifa

This ‘Antifa’ group was also Zionist, pro-Palestinian and Yiddish-speaking — and it’s trending.

Your top 9 Yiddish antifa anthems: a revolutionary playlist.

Rumor that a Los Angeles Chabad [Hasidic Jewish religious orgamisation] is fueling Antifa gets spread by White House.

Jewish history shows the consequences of tolerating police brutality.

A history of anti-fascism: here.