Can anyone who does what Antonio Cassano did as the picture above shows be taken seriously? On the face of it, Cassano was baited by a TV personality who apparently had an encounter with a football player in the national team who in turn "outed" another player to him.
This was Cassano's fumbling response to whether there might be undeclared gay players " That's their problem, but I hope not. ... But I don't know," he said, then added that he hoped his answer sufficed. "Because if not, you know I'll be attacked from every direction."
Lets give Cassano a break. He's always been outspoken and unscripted. A number of football managers including Fabio Capello can vouch for him getting into trouble with what he said about them or the management. He was after all a kid growing up in the tough streets of Bari and playing football was a way out. But one can't find a record of bigotry or malice in his statements. In any case, Cassano apologized. The matter should be put to rest. As for the larger issue, sports continues to be homophobic. It has been 14 years since Justin Fashanu killed himself after coming out and not much seems to have changed. Football focuses on racism but lags woefully behind when it comes to the uncomfortable question of sexual orientation.