So well done, and good luck, to Steve Davies, the England cricketer who has just announced that he is homosexual. So far, the cricketing community has reacted in a sensible and supportive way to the first ever practicing professional cricketer to be honest about his homosexuality. The sports world is, after-all, the last bastion of sexism in all its guises so it will be up to cricket’s fans to show the same relaxed attitude to Steve Davies’ sexuality as his team members seem to have done.
It is, it goes without saying, irrelevant to a player’s ability if he is homosexual and one day, no doubt, we will discover that many sporting heroes from less liberal-minded days, were glad to be gay in their private lives. The most remarkable thing about today’s announcement is that it is news-worthy at all. It is like those phony stories like “first woman to conquer Everest.”
The problem of homosexuality in masculine sport was, like until recently, in the American army, perceived to be a question of team spirit and, inevitably, centred around the potential awkwardness of locker room banter where there has always been a culture of exaggerated machismo. Steve Davies admits that this was the most difficult part of his time in the closet.
Well done though to the England team who were told about this before last year’s cricket tour and who, apparently, were entirely supportive.
An especial well-done to the happily straight Jimmy Anderson too who, last Autumn, was the first professional cricketer to appear on the cover of a gay magazine. He absorbed the potential ribbing with
cool and, with hindsight, was obviously doing this to help his team-mate in advance of his coming out.
A noble and brave act, Mr Anderson.
In his centrefold, he didn’t go in for half-measures either: