Soccer Star Predicts Coming Out is Hard

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com May 20 2011 1:35 PM ET

The captain of a German soccer team says that he wouldn't have a problem with a gay teammate, but he also said it would be "very difficult" to be an openly gay athlete.

Philipp Lahm, full-back and captain of Bayern Munich, has spoken out against homophobia in sport, and was awarded by the Weimar Gay Triangle, a German LGBT rights organization in 2008, The Telegraph(U.K.) reports.

“An openly gay footballer would be exposed to abusive elements,” he told Bunte magazine. “For someone who does [come out], it would be very difficult.”

Lahm's statements, which are being interpreted as homophobic, could be condmened by the German Football Federation (DFB), as it is attempting to address homophobia in the league. DFB president Theo Zwanziger recently urged gay players to come out, adding, "I would find it brave and would welcome it if a football player would come out."