Whether you are interested in football (or soccer for our American friends) or not, one topic undoubtedly has made it to your attention in the last few days of the EURO2020: the rainbow flag. Sure, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has been known for their let’s call them «conservative» values all along, but when the city of Munich officially requested to illuminate the Allianz Arena in rainbow colors for today’s match against Hungary, things got a new spin. As a reminder, Hungary is currently ruled by Orbán’s right-wing Fidesz party and the government is known for their discriminating and exclusion politics. Also, Viktor Orbán is on very friendly terms with Aleksander Ceferin who happens to be president of the UEFA. It is therefore not really surprising that UEFA denied the request.
We give you the best reactions on Twitter regarding that matter and show you the interesting course thing have taken meanwhile!
Shame on you @UEFA for not letting München light up the stadium in the rainbow colours!
You know better than calling this a political motivated action. This is a matter of equality, humanity and taking a stand against hate! #pride
— Caroline Hansen (@CarolineGrahamH) June 22, 2021
A rainbow over the National Arena in Bucharest.
UEFA have just launched an investigation into Mother Nature pic.twitter.com/XK6zyxvJDM
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) June 21, 2021
UEFA’s decision has since been publicly criticized for good reason. European football clubs, fans, organizations and companies are currently showing the rainbow colors, demonstrating solidarity to the queer community!
UEFA turned down a request from Munich’s mayor for the city’s stadium to be lit up in rainbow colors for the Euro 2020 match between Germany and Hungary.
German clubs responded.
(via @s04_en, @VfL_Wolfsburg, @HerthaBSC_EN, @fckoeln_en) pic.twitter.com/gt6sbGZCXW
— ESPN (@espn) June 22, 2021
Notably, all of this happened just days after the UEFA started an investigation against Manuel Neuer. The German team captain wore a rainbow armband for the matches against France and Portugal to show his support for the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month. The decision to investigate has been criticized ever since. Meanwhile the UEFA has concluded that there is no case to answer. An official statement from European football’s governing body said, the armband “was promoting a good cause, ie diversity, [and] the team will not face disciplinary proceedings.”
UEFA have today shared with the DFB that they have stopped the review of the rainbow captain’s armband worn by @Manuel_Neuer.
In a letter, the armband has been assessed as a team symbol for diversity and thus for a ‹good cause.› #EURO2020 #GER pic.twitter.com/HFiAAQ6F5D
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 20, 2021
Yesterday then, things got a new dimension when American Football player Carl Paul Nassib publicly announced that he is gay. Not only is Nassib the first active player to come out. He also did it in coordination and with the support of the National Football League (NFL).
.@Raiders DE Carl Nassib announced today that he’s gay. He also shared he’s donating $100,000 to the @TrevorProject, a suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth.
The NFL family is proud of you, Carl. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/HXbcBuLg2X
— NFL (@NFL) June 21, 2021
Full statement from Carl Nassib. #PRIDE pic.twitter.com/92cSSDqZoR
— NFL (@NFL) June 21, 2021
Obviously, the outing of a role model is of utter importance for the entire queer community which is why we should shed a light on the probably most important aspect of Nassib’s statement: «Young LGBTQ kids are over 5x more likely than their straight friends to consider suicide. […] Studies have shown that all it takes is one accepting adult to decrease the risk of an LGBTQ kid attempting suicide by 40%. Whether you’re a friend, a parent, a coach, or a teammate – you can be that person.»
Got it, UEFA?
The NFL community is with you, Carl. 🙌 (via @thecheckdown) pic.twitter.com/PovkVGMHTJ
— NFL (@NFL) June 22, 2021
Let us show you a little of the overwhelming support Nassib and the NFL gathered on social media:
The @NFL is not changing; LGBTQ+ athletes are a part of every sport and always have been. The only thing changing is the amount of love, acceptance, and comfortability we feel every day just being ourselves and being supported by our teammates, coaches, and the game’s fans.
— R.K. Russell (@RKRelentless) June 21, 2021
It took me until I was in my late 60s to come out. Such is the power of the closet. And I know what it’s like to have the eyes of the world on you when you do finally speak your truth.
Bravo, Carl Nassib. You have tackled a great deal today.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) June 22, 2021
Really proud of Carl Nassib. The first active football player to ever do so. I played with several guys who never were comfortable enough to go public. They were great teammates, & obviously very talented.
— Warren Moon (@WMoon1) June 22, 2021
We too want to express our full support with everyone in the queer community and thank Carl Nassib for his brave step. Hopefully, other associations will learn from the NFL’s attitude towards inclusion and anti-discrimination.