RSV Cologne Crushers

Unser multinationales – Gay & Hetero Friendly – Team heißt DICH willkommen. JEDER MANN KANN MITMACHEN! Alle RUGBY-Interessierten und Sportsmen – egal welcher Herkunft oder Orientierung – sind herzlich eingeladen. Auch ANFÄNGER ohne Vorkenntnisse des Sports sind in unseren Reihen gern gesehen! Jeder, der das Spiel erlernen und verstehen möchte, ist hier richtig!

Ziel ist Erfahrungsaustausch, Kennenlernen von Gleichgesinnten, gemeinsame Rugby-Trainings und Spiele mit anderen Teams zu veranstalten, und dabei eine Menge Spaß zu haben. Alle Fragen rund um das Spiel und das Team werden in der Gruppe beantwortet ?

RSV Cologne CrushersJoin our gay and heterofriendly Rugby Team in Cologne. Find new friends with the same interests and let’s train together!

We started our team early in 2013 and have been steadily growing since then. A mix of all types from various countries around the world brought together by rugby. It doesn‘t matter if you‘ve never played rugby before or whether you‘re short or tall, round or skinny – there‘s a place for everybody in a rugby team!

So why not join us? You‘ll find all the information about our trainings on the training page. And if you have any other questions either take a look at our facebook page or hit the email link at the bottom of the page.

Neuer Sponsor für die RSV Cologne CrushersWir freuen uns sehr, euch mitteilen zu können, mit der Gentle-Bears Bar einen neuen Sponsor direkt aus unserer Community gefunden zu haben.

Die sympathische Bar im Herzen von Köln gibt es zwar erst seit knapp zwei Jahren; sie ist aber schon jetzt ein Anziehungspunkt für Kerle von nah und fern. Und nun haben sich die Macher der Bar entschieden, ab sofort als unser neuer Sponsor aufzutreten. Unter anderem wird uns die Gentle-Bears Bar bei der Anschaffung eines neuen Trikotsatzes für unseren Verein unterstützen.

Wir sind sehr glücklich darüber, einen engagierten neuen Partner gefunden zu haben und freuen uns auf eine gute Zusammenarbeit. Unser Team stürzt sich jetzt noch motivierter in die neue Saison und auch in die Vorbereitung des Virgin Cup 2017.

New sponsor for the RSV Cologne CrushersWe are very pleased to announce that the Gentle-Bears Bar has committed to sponsorship with our team and that we have found a new partner from the very heart of our community.

The welcoming gay bar in the old town of Cologne has only been around for two years, but it is already an attraction for guys from near and far. And now the innkeepers stepped forward to sponsor our gay and inclusive rugby team, amongst others by substantially funding a new set of jersey for our club.

We are very happy that we have found such a commited partner and we are looking forward for a fruitful co-operation. Our team is now even more motivated to push the new season and also to prepare the Virgin Cup 2017.

Heard of the Steelers? No, not them, the gay rugby team from London

When Eammon Ashton-Atkinson, an Australian television reporter, decided to film his rugby club as they went to the biannual Bingham Cup in 2018, he could never have imagined the positive reaction a documentary about it would receive.

The film Steelers is about London-based Kings Cross Steelers, the world’s first gay rugby club and one of over 60 such sides world-wide. Although the stories in the film are related to the struggles of coming out, depression, and a history of bullying for being gay, they’re are told in a way which wider audiences can empathise with.

„It’s a story about a gay rugby club, but it’s also a story about human struggle, and people using sport and their sense of community to help each other, which is universal,“ Ashton-Atkinson told ESPN.

„I’ve never done this before [made a documentary], I just knew there was a good story there to be told, but I didn’t really expect such a great reaction and I was surprised that allies in the straight community really connect with the film.“

Heard of the Steelers? No, not them, the gay rugby team from London

Steelers: The world’s first gay rugby club

Watch the trailer for ‚Steelers‘ which tells the story of the people behind the world’s first gay rugby club.

Though being gay in 2021 in western society is often unremarkable today, you don’t have to go back very far to find traumatic stories. Ashton-Atkinson, now 34, vividly tells his story about being bullied at school.

„It’s about that whiplash that a lot of LGBT people have where we are celebrated now, but 15-20 years ago we weren’t. We’ve gone from having these horrible experiences which had left so many big scars to now just being like, ‚Well everything is ok so you should just get on with it and be grateful,'“ he explains.

„That whiplash is what caused me the depression because I grew up always being bullied everyday relentlessly, and that meant I struggled to form friendships and didn’t know how.

„I became very insular and cut off from my family and so all those things took a long time to repair to the point where I join the club and for me that was the final healing I guess I needed from all those experiences.“

But, if it’s easier to come out now, then why do we need gay rugby clubs?

„People say, ‚Shouldn’t you just play for a straight team?‘ And I guess that’s the whole point of the film,“ he says.

„We all need our community and a place where we can just be ourselves and in sport in particular there still is huge levels of toxic masculinity, so if I wanted to play at a straight club, I would have to question is it safe to come out? Will people treat me differently? Will things be said behind my back?

„That’s a thought that does go through your mind, and while it’s generally a positive there are still pockets of homophobia.“

Steelers club chairman Matt Webb goes even further, telling ESPN: „I think that still ties in to the need for people to come together in the same community who have shared lived experiences. There’s still a lot of trauma around the LGBT community in sport.

„I always come back to, ‚Why do you need a London Scottish or London Irish team‘ — people have a shared history, want to be around and with familiar people.“

The film itself almost didn’t come out at all. Ashton-Atkinson forgot to back-up the 45-minute edit he had been working on for months when reformatting his computer. Frustrated, he threw the hard drive into a drawer for a year. Then, in 2019, Australia’s Israel Folau spouted his infamous anti-gay comments on Instagram, saying „hell awaits“ gay people.

Ashton-Atkinson opened the drawer and started the edit again from scratch, and turned it into the unconventional documentary it has become. „I thought, you know what, f— you, I’m going to finish this film as a response to him, in a way.“

What was his reaction when he first heard the Folau comments? With the expletives removed, he said: „So my first reaction was a massive eye roll… Why? Why do you need to say that even if you believe it? You’re supposed to be a role model and, ok, if you hold those strong religious views the bible says you shouldn’t have tattoos and you’re covered in them…

„You’re a sportsman, play sport and be a good role model — people look up to you and we’re talking about people’s lives and mental health here. Not just some flippant throwaway comment, so yes you might be good at throwing and kicking a ball but that doesn’t give you the right to invalidate people for who they are.

„With being gay, you don’t think that I grew up desperately wanting to change my sexuality, like, wishing the gay away? I remember I would say to myself, ‚You have to think about girls‘, you know, ‚Go on dates with them and you’ll eventually just grow to like that‘ and it was awful.“

In classic London style in 1995, a group of blokes sat around a table with a pint in a Kings Cross pub and drew up the plans. Since one of the original six was a fan of Pittsburgh’s NFL team, the Kings Cross Steelers was born.

But it wasn’t plain sailing. Letters were sent to 120 clubs asking for games, and most didn’t get back to them. They were dubbed in the tabloids as ‚Harlequeens,‘ there was homophobic comments, and a fear over contracting HIV and AIDS. A ‚what happens if they start bleeding on the pitch?‘ attitude.

„For those of us who grew up when it wasn’t ok to be gay, just really before the internet was common, there was huge stigma. You had Margaret Thatcher’s Section 28 [a law brought in the UK by a Conservative government from 1988-2003 to the „prohibit the promotion of homosexuality“], misconceptions about the HIV virus,“ Ashton-Atkinson explains.

„For those guys who were setting up that team in 1995, they were real trailblazers because they were going out to different teams in Essex week-in-week out smashing down stereotypes one game of rugby at a time and from what I heard, these men in Essex, they had never met an openly gay man before, let alone an openly gay sportsman.

„For them to just pretty much realise, ‚Hey, we’re pretty much the same as you‘. I think that’s the best advocacy they could have done and it’s people like that that we owe a lot of thanks to because they’re the ones who made it easier for us to come out now.“

Webb says a lot of the aforementioned attitudes have gone. However, „There are still issues with homophobia and homophobic language being used on the pitch.

„And one of the things we’ve been working on with Harlequins and Monash University is that a lot of that isn’t actually homophobia, it’s the culture of clubs, the challenges of languages not being followed through.

„People using the same words because they want to look big and impressive, or prove their masculinity. There still is that toxic masculinity in sport and in a game where it’s tolerant but not fully inclusive.“

In February last year Harlequins became the first team to host a professional Pride game. This month they launched a LGBTQ+ supporters association to provide an inclusive space for fans.

The film blends the stereotypes of ‚traditional‘ macho rugby for 80 minutes, verses becoming drag queens a few hours later. The club atmosphere allows people to be who they want to be without holding back. It’s a heart-warming mix of humour, then empathy, as the pangs of suffering it took for individuals to get there tug on the heartstrings.

„It shows what rugby should be and can be — it can be about that masculine butch side on the pitch where you have to be aggressive and ready to protect your body and your teammates on the line, but it doesn’t mean you can’t also talk about the mental health issues that come alongside being a young adult in this world,“ Webb says.

„The ability to juxtapose that with drag and the fact there is still misogyny and poor treatment of women in the sport. Highlighting those is important but seeing the successes as well that people can overcome it and seeing that the benefits are there if people put the work in to get to it.“

Originally, he wasn’t going to include his own story in the film. But: „If there’s going to be a random Aussie voice in this film about a British club I need to explain who I am. And if I need to explain who I am, then I need to tell my story.

„So I didn’t want to make it about me but I thought there might be more power if there’s a first-person story so you’re seeing the club through my eyes.“

With negatives come the positives. In short, the club changed his life, he met his husband John there, and his band of brothers. „For the first time in my life I felt like I’d found a place where I belong, I could be fully myself and I’ve never had so many friends before. The best moments of my life were in that rugby club.“

„Sports people have so much influence, they are like modern day gladiators and young kids do look up to them. We have so many allies like James Haskell who is in the film, you couldn’t ask for better. That’s the flip side when people come out and support the community that means a lot,“ he says.

Steelers: The world's first gay rugby club

Gay sports leagues in NYC: Athletic clubs for every gay jock

Gay sports leagues abound in the city. Whether you’re looking to ski, play basketball or get in the pool, there’s a fun and friendly club out there for you.

Anyone who’s watched the Gay Pride March knows that gay jocks have plenty of local options when it comes to finding LGBT-friendly sports leagues. With the 2012 Olympics nearly upon us, perhaps you’re feeling inspired to break out the old tennis racket, football jersey or wrestling singlet. Or maybe you’re just looking for a fun way to get in shape, so you can show off by the beachpool. Whatever the case, these fun, friendly NYC gay sports leagues offer a decidedly more authentic sporting experience than you’ll find in one of our local gay bars.

Big Apple Dodgeball, Bowling and KickballBig Apple offers three different sports year-round and seasonally for coed teams. Teams are assigned randomly to keep the competition and the social aspect balanced. Postgame activities include bar nights and parties throughout the city. For more information, go to Apple Softball League Batter up! A member of the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (), the BASL includes both competitive and recreational teams. Games for the spring season are scheduled each weekend from April through August. The fall season runs from mid-September to mid-November. Players of all skill levels are welcome. For more information, go to or call LGBTQ Rock Climbing NYCRUX hosts weekly social climbing events open to participants of all levels. Check out Taco Tuesdays every week at Brooklyn Boulders from 7pm to 10pm, then go to Oaxaca Tacos for postclimb carbo-loading. CRUX also hosts outdoor climbs one weekend a month for members (membership is not required for indoor events). For more information, go to climbcrux.orgFront Runners New YorkYou’ve seen them during the Pride March, stopping to do push-ups and sprints, and giving out their “Nice Legs” stickers. Runners and walkers of all paces are welcome to join the Front Runners for their weekly fun runs on Saturday mornings in Central Park or Tuesday evenings in Prospect Park. For more information, go to Gotham Knights Rugby Football ClubSince 2001, the sexy Gotham Knights have welcomed new and experienced ruggers to the scrum. With a spring and fall season, winter training and summer touch rugby, there is always a chance to play. Beginning in August, practices will be Mondays and Wednesdays at Randalls Island Field, 7–9pm. For more information, go to gothamrfc.orgGotham Volleyball LeagueGotham offers league play, open plays and classes at all levels, and sponsors six tournaments each year. All events require registration or membership. For more information, go to Metro WrestlingMetro is a gay-friendly freestyle wrestling club. Practices take place each Sunday at the LGBT Center; the cost per practice is $10, and drop-ins and first-timers are welcome. Beginners’ classes are on the first Sunday of each month, while more serious competitors can take part in the club’s annual tournament. For more information, go to Metropolitan Tennis Group MTG provides year-round opportunities to play recreational and competitive tennis at venues around the city. No membership is required for monthly singles and doubles parties, but you’ll need to join to participate in championships and seasonal league competitions. Members also pay a reduced rate for MTG playing events. For more information, go to  New York Gay Football LeagueThe NYGFL is a seven-on-seven LGBT flag-football league with approximately 200 participants and 18 teams open to players at all levels of ability. Spring (February through May) and fall (September through December) seasons are available. All games are on Saturday or Sunday in or near Manhattan. Sign up fast when registration is open—spots go quickly. For more information, go to New York City Gay Basketball LeagueThere are six divisions for this LGBT basketball league: men’s and women’s A, B and beginner squads. All games are played in Manhattan on weekends. Even if you’ve never set foot on a basketball court, you can learn to play at one of the club’s beginner clinics. For more information, go to NYC Gay Hockey AssociationThe NYCGHA offers several teams for hitting the ice depending on your skill level. Choose from two developmental teams for beginners, three recreational teams for intermediates and the NY Lions for advanced players. For more information, go to nycgayhockey.orgOutcyclingJoin these riders for midweek training rides, weekend day trips and more. Membership gets you discounted rates for trips, which are open to public. For more information, go to New York RamblersFounded in 1980, this soccer squad offers scrimmages, training sessions and league play. Walk-ons are welcome at some events. For more information, go to BumsIt’s free to sign up for this social club, which organizes local events and group trips to resorts around the world. This winter’s confirmed trips include Niseko, Japan (Feb 21–Mar 2), and Zermat, Switzerland (Mar 23–30). For more information, go to More than 500 swimmers, polo players and divers count themselves among the ranks of this water-sports club, which offers coaching and competition—though many join solely for fitness and for challenging themselves. Swim practices are available each day and take place at various pools around the city. For more information, go to

Gay sports leagues in NYC: Athletic clubs for every gay jock

Unsere Seminarleitung

Mit der Gründung von GAY-TANTRA 1992 hat Armin die weite Verbreitung von Tantra in der Gay-Community Europas initiiert. Er gilt als Autorität auf dem Gebiet der Tantramassagen, der Kultur des Körperkontakts, der Kanalisierung sexueller Energie und der Verbindung mit einem Partner durch tantrische Energiekreisläufe; kurz: der Verbindung von Sexualität, Liebe, Intimität, Mitgefühl, Vergebung und Spiritualität..

Termine für Nürnberg bitte rechtzeitig und längerfristig vereinbaren:

Unsere Seminarleitung

The Inside Story Of The Best Gay Soccer Team In The World

When the referee blew the whistle and the first ball was put into play to start last Saturday’s match in the Middlesex County Football League, the scene could not have been more different from the fixture that took place a couple miles away earlier in the week when Tottenham Hotspur, sixth in the English Premier League, held off a furious last-minute charge from Swansea City to secure a needed win.

At this match, at the White Hart Lane Sports Centre in north London, onlookers won’t find bright lights and big scoreboards, nor will they hear rehearsed chants from raucous supporters.

That assumes there are onlookers at all. Aside from a few passersby, there really aren’t any. There is, however, something that the English Premier League matches nearby or anywhere else across the United Kingdom, for that matter, do not have: gay soccer players.

Stonewall Football Club, today’s visitors, was established in 1991 as England’s first gay soccer club. Four-time champions at the international Gay Games (including last year in Cleveland) and winners of continental competitions, it is Britain’s highest-ranking gay team and bills itself as “the world’s most successful gay football club.”

Wearing red shirts above blue shorts and attacking right to start the match, this Stonewall F.C. is a far cry from the club that began thanks to an ad in a local gay newspaper seeking fellow players to kick around. It now has 80 members and 70 regular players who feature for three separate teams, including one in a local Sunday league and another in a London recreational gay league.

The most prominent of the three is this one, the first team that plays against primarily straight teams in the Middlesex County League, which sits far below the Premier League, the most popular soccer competition in the world, the heartbeat of English sports, and one of the fastest growing leagues in popularity even in the United States, in the Football Association’s non-league structure. Still, it is high-level amateur competition, and Stonewall’s place in it has been a significant driver of the movement to make the sport more open to LGBT fans and players.

On this day, though, Stonewall is simply trying to continue a run of good post-holiday play with a win over the Wilberforce Wanderers, who are playing to go to the top of the standings. There is little thought about the club’s place in English soccer history, about all it has accomplished not just on the pitch but in the broader fight for equality in the sport they love but that hasn’t in the past much loved them back, or the fact that their success has, in an odd twist, made it even harder to maintain their quality.

There is just soccer, and if you only happened to amble by the turf pitch there would be no indication that this was a gay team at all.

We used to be identified as the gay team. Now we’re the football team that happens to be gay.

But that is precisely the point, evidence both of the mission Stonewall outlined from the start and the success it has found since. Stonewall launched at a time when the atmosphere around gay soccer players and fans was strikingly different than the one that exists now, when the FA was focused on racism but didn’t talk much about homophobia or the possible presence of LGBT fans or players. The club had a simple mission: to give gay players a place to play, to show everyone else that gay players existed throughout England even if not at the sport’s top levels, and to prove that they could play right alongside their straight counterparts.

Back then, “there was a perceived need for a gay team,” said club chairman Ben Biggs, who plays as a defender for the first team. “If you wanted to play football and you were gay, you wouldn’t have felt welcome most places.”

The team was eventually promoted to the Middlesex County league, giving it the chance to show they could play against and beat straight teams. They have.

“We used to be identified more as the gay team,” Eric Najib, a former goalkeeper who now serves as the first team’s manager, said. “Now we’re the football team that happens to be gay. There’s a significant difference in that.”

In the past, the reaction to a gay team was what one might expect — incidents of casual homophobia — though players said even then they were still rare. Beyond that, Stonewall’s quality of play led to another reaction. Disbelief.

“There was the perception that if you were a gay team, you’d play different, you wouldn’t be as tough,” Najib said. Opponents would appear next to Stonewall’s players in the middle of a match and say, “There’s no way you’re all gay.”

“The biggest thing we sought to do, and we need to be doing even today, is challenging that stereotype,” he said.

These days, the casual homophobia is mostly gone. The Football Association, the sport’s governing body, has stepped up efforts to combat homophobia at all levels of the game, and on-field incidents lead to banishment from matches and sometimes even stronger punishments.

“The older guys really took the flak” to make it easier for current players, said Martyn Fowler, a center midfielder.

Like a few others among Stonewall’s team, Fowler is straight (the club does not require players to be LGBT, though the vast majority of its players are). He joined the club because “one of my best mates played for Stonewall, and I was without a team.” The high level of soccer Stonewall plays — its players take pride in saying that it has the nicest facilities among its competitors, in part thanks to a running sponsorship from Barclays — and the fact that its participation in international gay tournaments allows players to travel the globe in ways other clubs at the same level don’t, makes it even more attractive.

“It makes no difference to me if it’s a straight team or a gay team,” Fowler said.

He just wants to play good soccer, and he found it here. The other teams across the league now see Stonewall the same way: “We’ve been in the league so long that everyone knows who we are and what we’re about.”

For whatever discrimination Stonewall’s players have faced in the past, whatever disbelief its opponents have had that gay players could play like this, the shock from the Wanderers today only comes when Stonewall scores in the first half to go ahead 1–0. The disbelief isn’t because the gay team scored, but because Wilberforce had spent much of the match’s opening half hour in control. The angst lifts temporarily when the Wanderers draw level before the half, but it only grows when they concede again early in the second. When Stonewall adds a third goal with little more than 10 minutes to play, Najib skips down the sideline and urges patience. Victory is apparent if no dumb mistakes are made.

None are, and the match ends as any other: brief celebration, a few hand shakes, a huddle near each bench — Najib urges his team to learn the lesson of the match, that when they play like this they can beat anyone in the league — and a slow walk to the changing room. And then, back into a London much different than the one Stonewall entered upon its founding, where LGBT equality has advanced not just in mainstream English society but in the slow-changing world of soccer too.

If Stonewall was among a small crowd pushing for the visibility and acceptance of gay players and fans when it launched more than two decades ago, it no longer is. In addition to the FA’s efforts, there is an ever-expanding infrastructure that links gay fans — the Gay Football Supporters Network, established in 1989, has grown tremendously since then, and some of England’s most prominent clubs now have gay supporters groups — and top clubs and a plethora of grassroots organizations have taken initiative in the fight to rid the game of homophobia. Stonewall is no longer alone on the field either: there is a national gay league and 25 to 30 gay teams in England now, Najib estimates, stretching from below London in the south to above Manchester in the north. Stonewall may be far from a household name in English soccer, but people involved in some of those groups say that it and newer gay teams like it deserve credit for leading the push against homophobia in the sport.

Gay people can play football. We are there every Saturday, all over London.

And yet, that success on the field and off and the increasing acceptance of LGBT people and players throughout the game has created a conundrum for the club. To some, there may be “somewhat of an existential question about whether there is a need for a gay team, especially as society and football become more open and tolerant,” Biggs, the chairman, said. That doesn’t mean Stonewall is going anywhere, but it may change how it moves forward in its efforts to “tackle homophobia in all aspects of football” as Biggs and the club focus on what it will look like over the next five or 10 years.

Progress has also made finding players harder. Stonewall once drew players from across the UK who needed a place to play comfortably as openly gay; today, as many of those players can find LGBT teams elsewhere or play for “straight” teams near home, Stonewall is having to increase its marketing efforts to maintain its expected quality.

That is a challenge Stonewall welcomes — it means it is closer to fulfilling its original mission — and Biggs and the club are working to continue expanding its reach. It has broadened its efforts to market itself to players. It has done outreach in an effort to continue the expansion and development of gay teams and leagues to give even more players a community and a place to play. Biggs says he wants to push the club’s efforts beyond football, to make Stonewall even more of a family than it already is. With the 25th anniversary fast approaching, he is focused on advancing its profile both in the UK and everywhere else. In February, Stonewall played a friendly match against Dulwich Hamlet in a first-of-its-kind anti-homophobia match.

And for all the progress the world’s game has seen in England, there is still work to be done. The sport, in England or anywhere else, is not yet an entirely equal ground. There are no openly gay players in the Premier League, at the levels just below it, or in any of the other major European leagues. There are fans who still don’t feel welcome, surely players who feel the same. If the progress has made attracting the best players a bit harder and given the club new ideas for how to keep growing, the success yet to be achieved is a reminder that Stonewall’s original mission remains pertinent.

“Gay people can play football,” Najib, the goalkeeper-turned-manager, said. “We are there every Saturday, all over London, all over the UK, playing at a high level.”

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Gay Players in The Closet Coming Out Remains Taboo in German Football

In a 2008 interview with public broadcaster ZDF, Mario Basler, the Bundesliga’s leading scorer in 1995 and more recently a trainer in the lower leagues, notoriously said that he didn’t believe there were any gay football players in Germany’s top league. Even if few would believe him, there was no evidence to the contrary besides sheer statistics.

For the first time last week, a current member a Bundesliga team, under the cloak of anonymity, came forward in an interview about being gay and closeted as a football player in Germany’s top league. The interview, conducted by Adrian Bechtold, a 25-year-old journalist, appeared on Tuesday in the online edition of , a youth magazine published by the respected Federal Agency for Civic Education (BPB).

„I pay a high price for living my dream of playing in the Bundesliga,“ the athlete said. „I have to put on a show and deny my true identity every day.“ Bechtold worked for almost a year to get the athlete’s story, gaining his trust and promising „a hundred times“ that his name wouldn’t be revealed.

The interview paints an unsurprisingly grim picture of life in the closet as a professional soccer player in Germany. Does the player know of other gay players in the league? Yes, several. Does he pay women to appear with him in public? No, he has plenty of female friends who will make appearances with him. Do gay Bundesliga players have secret meetings? No.

Is he in a relationship? No, and none of the other gay players in the Bundesliga that he knows are either. „I was once in a relationship in fact. But you can imagine that months of playing this hiding game is pure poison for a couple,“ he said. „At some point I had to make a decision. Of course, success playing football was subsequently great. But there was a corollary price to pay.“

At a press conference to open the Bundesliga Integration Game Days last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke out on the issue, saying athletes should not be afraid to come out in Germany. „I’m of the opinion that every person who summons the strength and has the courage — in politics we have a long process behind us — should know that they live in a country where they don’t actually have to be afraid,“ said Merkel. „That’s my political message.“

The chancellor was joined at the opening conference in Berlin by Uli Hoeness, the president of Bundesliga club FC Bayern Munich, who said that all clubs in the league have been advised to handle the event of players coming out and are well prepared to offer them support. If a Bayern Munich player came out, Hoeness said, „it would be no problem, as far as I’m concerned.“

In professional matches over the weekend, all 18 Bundesliga teams wore jerseys with the slogan „Go Your Own Way“ („Geh Deinen Weg“) instead of advertisements. The jerseys were part of an effort from the Deutschlandstiftung Integration, a foundation that promotes the integration of minorities, in collaboration with the the league to encourage religious and racial tolerance.

Although German football is home to numerous successful players who are immigrants or second-generation Germans, like football prodigy Mesut Özil, the son of second-generation Turkish immigrants, Dennis Aogo, the son of a Nigerian immigrant, and Kevin-Prince Boateng, the son of a Ghanian father, there is still not a single out gay player on the national team or in the Bundesliga.

The only former players to come out have been from the lower leagues and only after their careers have ended. Marcus Urban, who played for Rot-Weiss Erfurt when it was in the second division in the 1990s, came out after stepping away from his career on the field. Urban has since spoken in interviews about reading psychology books and paying careful attention to his body movements on the field — in many cases, playing especially aggressively — to hide his homosexuality.

Urban, who today works as a life coach and helped Bechtold leading up to the interview and with the press requests he’s received since it was published, said the anonymous interview was a step towards the normalization of homosexuality in professional football. „It’s a preparation for real outings,“ he said in an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE. „We have to prepare for it. The football associations, the clubs, we all have to prepare for real outings. That will come.“ In the meantime, Urban feels that the German Football Association (DFB) still isn’t taking the issue seriously. He would like to see the league appoint someone to deal with the topic specifically.

Creating a more open atmosphere for gays in professional soccer would also make teams more competitive, some argue. Tatjana Eggeling, a former professor of cultural anthropology who advises gay professional athletes, including members of the Bundesliga, argues that hiding their sexuality is an enormous distraction for gay players and keeps them from performing to the best of their abilities.

For the same reasons, closeted athletes are also more likely to be injured during games and in practice.

„The football league itself could do better — much, much better,“ Eggeling said in an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE. „They are rich, they make money out of football, and they could make even more money if they were able to accept gay players in the same way that they do black, Turkish or straight players — the players would play better, because they wouldn’t have to hide their sexual orientation.“

Mario Gomez, a striker for Bayern Munich and for the German national team, has also said as much. If gay football players came out, it would free up their playing style, he said. „Being gay hasn’t been a taboo for a long time now. We have a gay deputy chancellor, the mayor of Berlin is gay, so gay football players should also let their preferences be known,“ he said in an interview with the celebrity magazine in 2010, citing his club FC Bayern Munich’s motto, „Mir-san-Mir,“ which is Bavarian dialect for „we are who we are.“

Before Hoeness‘ remarks on Thursday, former German Bundesliga president Dr. Theo Zwanziger, who left his post in March, underscored on several occasions the league’s support of gay athletes and promised support if any athletes wanted to come out. The vast majority of players, coaches and other officials connected with the league, however, remain largely silent on the issue. Speaking out in favor of gay tolerance, the thinking goes, attracts unwanted attention and can drive away sponsors, many of the same pressures that keep gay players in the closet.

„It’s not enough to have one prominent person, one functionary being open and open-minded and saying I support every coming-out,“ said Eggeling. „You need all people in a club. You need more than just a president to change the climate in football. But, of course, it’s very important that Mr. Hoeness said what he did.“

All across Europe, it is virtually unheard of for any active professional athletes to come out, especially in the top leagues. Anton Hysen, a midfielder for Utsiktens BK in Sweden’s fourth league and the son of a famous British Premiere League player, came out in 2011 and didn’t experience any backlash. At the same time, closeted athlete’s fears aren’t without historical grounds. In 1995, the openly gay Swedish ice hockey player Peter Karlsson was murdered by a Swedish neo-Nazi.

In 1990, Justin Fashanu became the first professional football player in England to come out. Eight years later, Fashanu was accused of sexual assault by a teenager in the United States and was later found hanged in a garage in Britain. „I realized that I had already been presumed guilty,“ he wrote in a note. „I do not want to give any more embarrassment to my friends and family.“

The trend reaches across the Atlantic to American football, where there has never been an openly gay active player, although three former National Football League players have come out after they retired. Earlier this month, Chris Kluwe, an active, heterosexual, professional American Football player for the Minnesota Vikings used the media to speak out on behalf of gay equality. Kluwe came to the defense of another heterosexual player, the Baltimore Ravens‘ Brendon Ayanbadejo, who had also been active supporting gay equality. Ayanbedjo was attacked by Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Maryland state delegate, in a letter to the owner of the Ravens. The politician demanded that the owner „inhibit such expressions from your employee and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions.“

Kluwe, whose brother-in-law is gay, published an open letter on the American sports blog Deadspin admonishing Burns‘ attempt to silence Ayanbadejo’s support for gay equality. „Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level,“ he wrote in the letter. In American elections this November, voters in Minnesota and Maryland, among two other American states, will both vote on same-sex marriage rights. In the model of Gomez in the Bundesliga, Kluwe is a reminder of the little-exercised potential straight professional athletes have to shape public opinion on the matter.

But the idea of an active gay player giving an interview to the press, even anonymously, is totally unprecedented in Germany. Of course, some have also wondered aloud if it’s a fake.

„It’s important to take the first step,“ the player said, when asked why he was taking the risk of revealing his identity to a journalist. „Besides, you can understand my situation and it is easier to do it this way. Still, others wouldn’t dare to take the same step, even anonymously. Maybe my colleagues don’t feel the need to do so. It is my hope that we can speak again in a year and that I can then attach a name to what I say.“

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Chancellor Angela Merkel, an ardent supporter of the national soccer team, said last week that gay players shouldn’t be afraid to come out. She hosted a meeting to launch a campaign called „Go Your Own Way,“ supporting tolerance in Germany’s top football league, the Bundesliga. She was joined by Reinhard Rauball (R), president of the German Football League, and Uli Hoeness (L), president of FC Bayern Munich, a Bundesliga club.

On Saturday, the chancellor attended a match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Dortmund.

In honor of the new initiative, all 18 Bundesliga teams wore the „Go Your Own Way“ motto on their jerseys instead of advertisements.

But so far, no Bundesliga player has outed himself. They are too afraid that the move would damage their career. „The price of my dream-come-true, being in the Bundesliga, is high,“ an anonymous gay player in the Bundesliga said in an interview last week. „I have to put on a show and suppress myself daily.“

Mario Basler, a former player on the German national team and top-scorer in the Bundesliga, said in 2008 that he didn’t believe the league had any gay players. But sheer statistics suggest otherwise.

German players like Mario Gomez, a member of the German national team, said in a 2010 interview that gay players would play better if they came out of the closet. „It’s long gone that being gay was a taboo,“ he said.

In American football, where there has never been an openly gay active player, three former National Football League players have come out after they retired. Straight players, such as Minnesota Vikings Chris Kluwe (left), have used the media to suport about gay marriage equality.

Share All sharing options for: These 39 current NFL players have all played with an out gay teammate

Some people still believe that the NFL is a “homophobic” monolith where it’s “dangerous” to be gay.

Despite Outsports chronicling literally dozens of pieces of evidence to the contrary, there’s a continued belief amongst some that NFL players would overwhelmingly reject a gay player if he came out. One Outsports reader recently claimed NFL players would try to kill that person.

Of course, this is ludicrous. So we set out to figure out how many current NFL players have already played on the same team with an out gay teammate. We found 39 current NFL players, who were on a roster for the 2020 season, who have already had an out gay teammate. Four of them will be playing in the NFC or AFC Championship Game this weekend.

In addition, dozens of other players have played against an opponent they knew to be gay.

These 39 current NFL players have played with at least five gay or bisexual men who were out to their team while they were on the same team. Those LGBTQ men (with the years they were out on their teams):

Mason Darrow, OT, Princeton Tigers, 2015-2016Kansas State Wildcats, 2017-2019My-King Johnson, DE, Univ. of Arizona Wildcats, 2017-2018Michael Sam, DE, Univ. of Missouri Tigers, 2013; St. Louis Rams, 2014Arizona State Sun Devils, 2014

Some of the players who played with these out athletes played in the same unit or similar positions. For example, Markus Golden played defensive end at Missouri behind Sam. Charles Harris redshirted that year but also would have been in meetings and learning from Sam, who went on to win SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Dalton Risner played on the Kansas State offensive line with Scott Frantz.

Of all the out players, Michael Sam has the most former teammates — 16 — still in the league (not surprising, given he was out throughout training camp with the Rams).

The Arizona Cardinals have the most players we know have played with an out gay teammate. At least six of the players on the Cardinals’ 2020 roster — about 10% of the team, — has already had a gay teammate they knew of. And they have collectively played in college with all five out gay players.

With that experience, solid veteran leadership, a coach in Kliff Kingsbury who has lauded gay football player Scott Frantz, and a front office that has demonstrated an embrace of LGBTQ people, it is easy to make the case that an out gay player with the Cardinals would be welcomed.

Of course many other NFL players have played with a gay or bi teammate before they came out (e.g., Dustin Colquitt played, and was good friends, with Ryan O’Callaghan), or played with a teammate who has come out privately but not publicly.

These are the current NFL players to have played with an out gay or bi man on their team (with that team and their current team listed):

Tavon Austin, St. Louis — WR, Green Bay PackersRams selected him No. 8 overall in the 2013 draft.

Quinn Bailey, Arizona State — OT, Bailey redshirted in 2014 with the Sun Devils. He’s played two games for the Broncos in two seasons.

Kalen Ballage, Arizona State — RB, Drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2018, Ballage has 629 career rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

Daren Bates, St. Louis — LB, Bates was on and off the active roster of the Titans in 2020.

Evan Boehm, Missouri — C, Free AgentWas on the Jaguars practice squad in 2020.

Stephen Carlson, Princeton — TE, Carlson has spent two years with the Browns.

Jared Cook. St. Louis — TE, Two-time Pro Bowler, has been in the league for over a decade.

Dane Cruikshank, Univ. of Arizona — S, Tennessee TitansCruikshank was drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans.

Sean Culkin, Missouri — TE, Spent most of 2020 on the practice squad, playing in one game.

Cody Davis, St. Louis — S, Has played in the NFL for eight seasons with three different teams.

Seth Devalve, Princeton — TE, Arizona CardinalsA fourth-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2016, Devalve has four career TDs.

Jamil Douglas, Arizona State — OG, Tennessee TitansDrafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2015, won Super Bowl LI with the Patriots in 2016.

Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Univ. of Arizona — DB, San Francisco 49ersFlannigan-Fowles started 36 of his 50 career games at Arizona, before signing with the 49ers as a UFA in 2020.

D.J. Foster, Arizona State — RB, Arizona CardinalsSigned by the New England Patriots as a UFA in 2016, winning Super Bowl LI with the team.

Garrett Gilbert, St. Louis — QB, Gilbert started one game in 2020.

Markus Golden, Missouri — LB, Arizona CardinalsSpent 1.5 seasons with the Giants between his two stints with the Cardinals.

Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State — K, Arizona CardinalsCleveland Browns drafted him in the seventh round in 2017.

Matt Haack, Arizona State — P, Miami DolphinsHaack has been with the Dolphins since he was signed as a UFA in 2017.

Charles Harris, Missouri — DE, Atlanta FalconsFirst-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2017.

Johnny Hekker, St. Louis — P, Has been with the Rams since 2012. Named to four Pro Bowls.

Jesper Horsted, Princeton — WR, Chicago BearsTwo-time first-team Ivy League in college.

Lamarcus Joyner, St. Louis — S, Las Vegas RaidersIn seven NFL seasons Joyner has had four picks and a score.

John Lovett, Princeton — TE, Green Bay PackersUsed as a QB, RB and WR at Princeton, he was moved to TE and FB when the Chiefs signed him in 2018.

Matt McCrane, Kansas State — K, Cleveland BrownsMcCrane played in the XFL last year before landing on the practice squad of the Browns.

Connor McGovern, Missouri — C, New York JetsDrafted by the Broncos in 2016.

Rodney McLeod, St. Louis — S, Philadelphia EaglesHelped the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title.

Mitch Morse, Missouri — C, Buffalo BillsA second-round pick by the Chiefs in 2015.

Alec Ogletree, St. Louis — LB, New York JetsHe was second-team All-Pro in 2016 with the Rams.

Byron Pringle, Kansas State — WR, Kansas City ChiefsPringle has a Super Bowl ring with the Chiefs after being signed by Kansas City in 2018.

Damarious Randall, Arizona State — S, In three seasons with the Packers he had 10 interceptions and two touchdowns. In 2020 he was active for 10 games for the Seahawks.

D.J. Reed, Kansas State — CB, Seattle SeahawksHe’s had 10 career starts with two interceptions and two forced fumbles.

Caraun Reid, Princeton — DE, Has played with seven different NFL teams since 2014.

Dalton Risner, Kansas State — OG, Denver BroncosRisner was drafted by the Broncos in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He’s started all 32 games of his NFL career.

Duke Shelley, Kansas State — CB, Chicago BearsThe cornerback has started two games in his two NFL seasons.

J.J. Taylor, Univ. of Arizona — RB, New England PatriotsFor the Patriots during the 2020 season, Taylor rushed in six games 23 times for 4.8 yards per carry.

Reggie Walker, Kansas State — LB, Arizona CardinalsThe linebacker was 2019 Honorable Mention All-Big 12. He was signed by the Cardinals in 2020 as a UFA.

Jace Whittaker, Univ. of Arizona — CB, Arizona CardinalsWhittaker started all of his games with Arizona during his senior season in 2019. In his rookie season he played in four games for the Cardinals.

Renell Wren, Arizona State — DT, Wren was a fourth-round pick in 2019. He redshirted his freshman year in 2014.

Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis — K, Dallas CowboysNamed to the Pro Bowl in 2017.

If you think I’ve missed a current NFL player who’s played with an out gay or bi teammate, be sure to leave the information in the comments below.

Share All sharing options for: How gay is your favorite NFL franchise?

People are often surprised to hear that the most popular sport among Outsports readers isn’t diving or gymnastics – It’s the NFL. The most-watched sport in America is also tops in West Hollywood and the Castro.

Thankfully, most NFL teams give some reason for gay fans to cheer. Whether it’s the color of their uniforms, their nickname, or matching the color of their quarterback’s hair with their uniforms, almost every team has something gay to celebrate.

Just how gay is your favorite NFL franchise? Chances are, it’s pretty gay…

For their name alone, the Packers have been the subject of jokes and laughs from gay comedians for years. Not since the Oilers left the NFL has there been an NFL nickname that better encompasses gay men of every persuasion. Gay NFL fans of other teams – even those in Minnesota – at some deep level wish they were Packers fans. And if the nickname weren’t clear enough, they have a big G on the side of their yellow helmets. Gay! Gay! Gay!

Bears have been a staple of the gay community for as long as it’s been around. For the straights: A bear is a hairy, often husky, gay man who is often attracted to other hairy, husky men. A Cub (Chicago fans will be proud to know) is a young bear, whether said young bear is in Yellowstone National Park or Boystown. „Sweetness“ indeed. Given the teams in the top two spots, it’s safe to say the NFC North is the gayest division in football! And if there’s any doubt, there’s always this…

Not only is their name Brown, and not only is their color brown, but their first head coach (for whom they were named) was Paul Brown, and the franchise’s biggest star was Jim Brown. Incidentally, Cleveland is home to Flex, the largest gay bathhouse in America, and will be host to the Gay Games in 2014. The gays are definitely down with the Browns.

Other than Jeff Stryker, no name is more synonymous with gay pornography than Colt. For over 40 years, Colt Studio has produced gay porn with the motto: „If the Look is Masculine, the Name is COLT!“

Outdone by Colt only in longevity, Titan Media has been producing gay porn for almost 20 years. Winner of the XBIZ „Gay Studio of the Year“ award for six years running, at least Titan fans have won something during the Obama administration. And with franchise-tagged „performers“ like Dillon Buck, Tony Buff and Marco Blaze, you can’t go wrong!

The Gay Bowl is the annual gay flag football national championship. The very first Gay Bowl, all the way back in 2002, featured a team from the Bay Area called – wait for it – the San Francisco 69ers. Any team from San Francisco has to be near the top of a „gay list.“ Between the public nudity and the giant rainbow flagged draped from bay to breakers, the city is the gayest place outside of Palm Springs on Dinah Shore Weekend.

Brokeback Mountain did wonders for the image of Cowboys. Once cast as tough, macho lone riders, the Ang Lee film showed them for what they are: Sensitive, lonely souls with a penchant for bareback gay sex in tents. And with the Dallas Cowboys owned by the biggest drama queen in football, how can any gay fan not love them? Besides, it’s 2013; Isn’t everybody at this point a Romosexual?

The Vikings have the distinction of being the only NFL team represented by a man with braids in his hair. And as we all learned when some in the religious Right boycotted the Teletubbies because they said Tinky Winky was gay, purple is the gayest color in the rainbow.

feature film. The professional women’s football team in New York? The Sharks. Bonus points for Rex Ryan’s foot fetish and Mark Sanchez-jersey tattoo.

Bet you didn’t know that dolphins are one of the gayest species on the planet. That’s gay as in homosexual. As in, they have homosexual sex. Yep. Lesbian and gay bottle-nose dolphins swimming all around the coast of Florida. I knew something had to be in the water in South Beach.

. The fact that the nickname has been used for the Patriots for decades is icing on the cake for a franchise that has both quietly and publicly supported LGBT equality for years. On Sundays when the Patriots wear their throwback jerseys – with their old logo featuring a Patriot in a „compromising position“ – they jump into the top 10.

All across the country, gay bars called „The Eagle“ have popped up over the years. Whether it’s New York City, Los Angeles, Portland or Seattle, The Eagle is home to leather daddies and guys interested in other fetishes like bondage. Unlike in Philadelphia, Andy Reid would be welcome with open arms to any of the Eagle bars.

OK, the Ravens aren’t particularly gay, but when Brendon Ayanbadejo was on the team they were a beacon of light for gay fans. Besides, any team that names itself after an Edgar Allen Poe poem and uses purple as its team color is kinda gay.

The Bucs used to have the gayest logo in the history of professional sports (and that includes the rainbow flag in the old Nuggets logo). It featured a guy with long hair, an earring and a feather in his hat with a sword in his mouth winking at the mostly male fans. What, Liberace wasn’t available?

16) New York GiantsJeremy Shockey said some nasty things about having a gay teammate. But that was over 10 years ago. Since then, Giants owner Steve Tisch has become a vocal supporter of gay marriage. Besides, for those who think size matters, it’s tough to get bigger than a „giant.“

In addition to having the most phallic logo in the NFL, the Chiefs are also well-represented on the Village People by Felipe Rose. There must be some way to work Arrowhead Stadium into „Y.M.C.A.“

I dated a guy named Bill once. He was cute. Wasn’t from Buffalo, but I have fond memories. Very fond memories…

The motto, „What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas“ has been the rule of thumb surrounding Mardi Gras for decades. And for good reason. Now if we could only stumble across Drew Brees on Bourbon Street and get him to take our beads…

While the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial are lovely, the can’t-miss stop in DC is Secrets – The best all-male strip club in the U.S. They even have a monthly amateur contest, but Chris Cooley hasn’t shown up yet. One other side note: The one time I met RGIII he was wearing pink socks. It takes a real man to wear pink socks to an NFLPA party.

Gosh I wish I was a Steelers fan. The team hands out those Terrible Towels perfectly sized for the night stand. Mine are all white, but I suppose yellow would work too.

I’m ranking them here simply on the promise that everything is bigger in Texas. Everything.

With Tim Tebow at the helm, the Broncos may have been 10 places higher. Without him, they’re… Oh wait! Peyton Manning does those „Double Stuff“ commercials. Now we’re talking. Who doesn’t want to join the Mile High club?

I once saw a picture of Al Davis when he was young and commented to Outsports‘ other half, Jim Buzinski, that I thought he was handsome. Hey, it was a grainy picture! Davis became „Cyd’s lust object“ until he died. May he rest in peace.

While the orange is pretty bad, any team that can match its jersey color with the hair of its starting quarterback has to get a little love. Whoever is doing their draft board should apply for a spot on the next Project Runway.

Sorry size queens, the „12“ on the fans‘ jerseys isn’t an advertisement. And yes, you can still cheer for Russell Wilson despite the „3“ on his chest.

It might be in the heart of the South, but Atlanta routinely makes top-10 „gayest cities in America“ lists. Why? Surrounded by 300 miles of country not considered particularly hospitable to gays, Atlanta and its „gayborhoods“ have become an oasis for out Southern men and women.

Have you ever heard the San Diego Super Chargers fight song? If you ever wondered what Studio 54 and gay discos sounded like in the 1970s, this is it. I dare you to listen without seeing images of sequins and rainbows. „We’re gonna dazzle you with our super play.“ Oh my.

San Diego *SUPER* Chargers Fight Song! (via lwilkers)

I’ve been to only one Panthers home game in my life, when they hosted the Indianapolis Colts in 2007. And as luck would have it, my all-time NFL lust object, David Carr, was with the Panthers and started the second half when Vinny Testaverde led the offense to five straight scoreless possessions. They lost, 31-7. David never showed up to the gay bar that night for me to console him, but I know he was thinking of me. I just know it.

For years, the Cardinals played in Tempe, Ariz., which at the time was the largest city in America to have an openly gay mayor. This year, the Phoenix area will host the Gay Bowl – It will be the first city to ever host the Gay Bowl twice.

My partner spent eight years in Ann Arbor. When I asked him if there’s anything gay about Detroit, it was a quick „Hell no.“ You don’t get much less gay than Detroit, unless you’re the…

Teal? What, mauve was taken? No NFL teams‘ color scheme is as dated as the Jaguars, and the gays do know their fashion. If they do in fact move to Los Angeles, change their colors and become the Hollywood Hookers, their standing on this list would change fast.