A gay Premier League star has revealed he is seeking psychological help because of the fear of coming out, stating that it has had a terrible effect on him mentally.
The anonymous footballer has opened up over the fear that has gripped him as he contemplates coming out publicly.
It has even led to the player seeking therapy because of the mental stress that it has put him under.
He told The Sun: “It’s 2021 and I should be able to be free to tell everyone who I am.
“But there are some fans on the terraces for whom it is still very much the 1980s.
“I want to be open with people because it’s who I am and I am proud. But the truth is I will be crucified.”
Next month, the Stonewall campaign Rainbow Laces will go ahead but the Premier League have been criticised for their lack of support for the LGBT+ cause over the years.
Last season, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson threw his support behind the campaign after he was contacted by a fan on Twitter, to which the England international replied: “You’ll never walk alone Keith. If wearing the #RainbowLaces armband helps even just one person then it’s progress.
“Everyone is welcome at Liverpool Football Club. Hope you enjoyed the game tonight. #YNWA.”
The Premier League footballer went on to state that the psychological anguish has left him doubting himself on and off the pitch.
He said: “When I play, I feel like the fans may guess and they are judging me.
“Am I coming across as camp? Can they tell from the clothes I wear off the pitch? It has had a terrible effect on me mentally. It’s terrifying.”
The last top-flight player to come out was former Norwich star Justin Fashanu, who did so in 1990 but tragically took his own life in 1998.
His niece, Amal, has been dedicated to tackling homophobia and racism in football and has set up a charity.
She told The Sun: “In 2021, when we have never been so woke as a society, it feels like it should be the perfect time for a top-level player to come out.
“But the reality is that homophobia, especially online, is more prevalent than ever. We need to protect these players.”
Last year, two Premier League players came out to their close family and friends but not in public after an open letter was sent to the FA, revealing that one was “too scared”.