Brit Soccer Stars Refuse to Be in Anti-Homophobia Ad
Campaign shelved after pros won't play ball
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2010 5:39 AM CST
Members of Manchester United warm up during a training session at a stadium in Kuala Lumpur.   (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

(Newser) – British soccer authorities were forced to shift gears on its plans for an anti-homophobia ad campaign starring top players after the athletes refused to take part. The players and their agents feared that their involvement in a video addressing gay prejudice would lead to ridicule from fans, sources tell the Independent.

"Maybe in three, four, or five years we will have more players involved," says one source at the Professional Footballers' Association, which is holding off on releasing the star-less video it ended up making. "At the moment, no one wants to be the player putting their head above the parapet." Campaigners believe progress may be many years off, noting that the only professional soccer player ever to come out as gay, Justin Fashanu, was taunted and bullied on the pitch and eventually committed suicide.