But for footballers, it seems the price is to be paid in something else...
Professional footballers have refused to appear in a campaign video against homophobia because they fear being ridiculed for taking a stand against one of the sport's most stubborn taboos, The Independent has learnt. Both players and agents declined a request by the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) to take part in a video which was to use high-profile players as figureheads in the association's drive against anti-gay prejudice.So, they were asked, and they declined. That's the thing about requests. You don't have to meet them...
A PFA source added: "Maybe in three, four or five years we will have more players involved. At the moment, no one wants to be the player putting their head above the parapet. It's about the right time and the right place. Players give a lot; they get so many asks. Sometimes there has to be a 'no', and this was one of them."Unfortunately, someone saw this 'offer' as the sort they shouldn't have been allowed to refuse:
As the fallout continued from the FA's decision to pull the DVD – which generated more publicity than its creators could possibly have expected – gay activist Peter Tatchell said yesterday that the association should be doing more to encourage players to speak out: "I have always argued that we should involve players in this project, but we need to make a proper, organised effort to make that happen.And if they still say 'Thanks, but no thanks...', Peter? What then?
"I have said time and time again that Lord Triesman [the FA chairman] should write a personal letter to players, underlining the value of the campaign and asking them to be a part of it together with other players."
There are some hopes at the PFA that the England national team might ultimately be the vehicle. The new England captain, Rio Ferdinand, remembered by many in gay circles for his use of the word "faggot" on a Chris Moyles radio show in 2006, was shamed into subsequently taking a more reconstructed view of homosexuality.Actually, no, he wasn't.
He was shamed into uttering in public a 'more reconstructed view of homosexuality'. No-one knows what his true feelings are.
But if anyone things that this kind of bullying and subtle moral blackmail is the way to gain acceptance, they are fools.