DANCING on Ice star Colin Jackson said there are gay Premier League footballers – but he understands why they have not come out.
In an exclusive chat with the Sun Online, the former Olympic champ, said there are top soccer stars refusing to publicly acknowledge their sexuality – and he doesn’t blame them.
When asked if there were more gay footballers who were yet to come out, Colin, 53, said: “There are gay people in society and gay people in rugby and Premiership footballers which is quite right. It’s up to them whether they chose to come out.
“For me, if I was a Premiership footballer, would I come out? I’d say no. The reason why I’d say no is that just concentrate on your game.
“As soon as you come out people will be asking questions ‘What about this? What about that?’ They should be concentrating on their game. That is their job. That is their role.
“You can come out in 20 years or when you want to come out, but right now, just focus on your skills.
“Once you come out, you might be expected to go to every Pride and event across the world. No, no. just do what you want to do. You’re still the same person, do what you want to do. That’s the most important thing. You’re a human being, just live your life. And love.”
The Olympic hurdler, who came out as gay at 50, said he understands sports stars struggling with their sexuality.
Colin, who was in the skate off of the ITV1 show alongside his partner Klabera Komini, talked about his own experience.
The star, who has been a mentor for Qube Learning, said: “Coming out, you’ve got to be in a place where you are so comfortable in the process that you can do it, and just move on quickly.
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“I also feel like you shouldn’t have to come out if that makes sense. If you don’t want to don’t do it.
“You shouldn’t be under pressure to do anything you don’t want to do.
“If you’re quite happy to do it and makes you feel at peace, then yes that’s fine and you’ve got to choose.”
Colin told why he chose not to be part of a same sex couple on DOI. He said: “I’m a bit of a traditionalist. I’d hate that ‘you lead, no I’ll lead’.
“I’m not interested in that. Klabera will go ‘I’m leading. Right, you’re coming with me. We’re doing it this way.’ And it works.
“It sounds odd but I get on with women better. So the partnership works better with the opposite sex.”
SPORT MUST CHANGE
CAMPAIGNING charity Stonewall praised “real movement within football” — but said attitudes still need to change across sport before everyone “feels free to be themselves”.
They added: “It’s vital that allies — fans, players, clubs and leading organisations — come out in support of LGBT rights and make sport a more accepting environment for all LGBT people.
The burden of social change can’t solely lie on the shoulders of LGBT athletes. “The more support there is, the easier it will become for athletes to be open about their sexuality.
“That’s why our Rainbow Laces campaign focuses on getting more people to be visible and fierce supporters of LGBT equality in sport.
“Our work will not be finished until all LGBT people — from fans to players alike — are accepted without exception.”