Kit change for McGregor as Celtic back important LGBTQ+ campaign
Celtic captain Callum McGregor has enthusiastically backed the Rainbow Laces campaign to highlight LGBTQ+ issues in football.
The club have backed this campaign in the past, adopting rainbow-coloured laces to put focus on homophobia in football [Stonewall]. The scourge of prejudice remains a significant talking point in the sport. In Scotland, not a single top-flight men’s football player has ever come out.
Casual and more serious homophobia can still be heard from the stands, even in 2021. And therefore, it’s imperative that big clubs like Celtic back the campaign.
For McGregor’s part, he’s going to wear a rainbow captain’s armband against Motherwell on Sunday.
He spoke about supporting the campaign to the club’s in-house media, saying [Celtic FC]: “Celtic will always be open to everyone. The Rainbow Laces campaign aims to make sport everybody’s game and that, of course, really is a great message.
“The initiative once again addresses a very important issue in society which needs to be tackled and, therefore, we are delighted to once again offer our wholehearted support.”
The club added that the goal of the campaign was to “…unite everyone who cares about sport and fitness to create a world where every LGBTQ+ person can thrive wherever they train, play or watch sport.”
Like all forms of prejudice, homophobia is a scourge on football; great to see Callum McGregor and Celtic helping to fight it
Although men’s football is far behind the rest of society in accepting LGBTQ+ players and fans, there has been progress made.
In recent years, LGBTQ+ supporters’ clubs have emerged. Celtic have one, in the form of the brilliant Proud Huddle CSC.
Scott Brown, while Celtic captain, was a passionate advocate of LGBTQ+ acceptance in football.
The Hoops icon, backing an anti-homophobia campaign in sport, said in 2019 [Daily Record]: “My best mate from school came out and didn’t know how to tell anybody. It was the hardest thing to do in his life.
“I’m here now trying to help people come out – it might be your son, your daughter.
“We need to make it as easy as possible for people, so they aren’t living with that fear day in, day out.”
That’s the key word here; “fear”. Although it may not be as mainstream and accepted as it was in the past, homophobic abuse can still be heard from the terraces. A player only needs to go down injured, and slurs that are sadly still commonplace can emerge.
It’s that hostile atmosphere that’s going to surely put supporters off coming out, while the mark it has on players can be fatal. The shameful treatment of Justin Fashanu is still shocking and disgusting, even 30+ years after he came out [BBC].
Celtic pride themselves on being a club open to all. Measures like these make that a reality. Football still has a long, long way to go, but these kinds of initiatives, backed by big names like Callum McGregor, can only help the cause.