Former Leeds United player Robbie Rogers has said that footballers find it hard to come out as gay in the UK, due to the actions of fans.
The American left Elland Road last February, before revealing his sexuality and announcing his retirement from the game.
He is now playing professionally again in MLS with the Los Angeles Galaxy, and he has urged supporters to think before they act when chanting abuse at players.
"For whatever reason, I don’t think fans in England or fans in the UK are homophobic at all," he said to BBC Radio 5 Live. “The things they will say in a stadium does not reflect their character.
“But they take it just a little bit overboard sometimes. I learned that while I was in England.
“It’s a little bit sad. Fans need to realise what you’re saying to players, especially when you are on that level.
“You need to think it through before you start yelling at players.”
No player in the UK has come out since Justin Fashanu in 1990, but it has increasingly become an issue that the Football Association and Professional Footballers Association continue to address.
Rogers, 26, hopes that it will be possible for a gay footballer to be publicly open about their sexuality in the near future, and wants anyone in a similar situation to his own can learn from him.
He said: "I have no clue when someone will feel they can do that. I hope soon.
"I hope they can learn from my experience, if possible, to see that it wasn’t a big deal and that I’m playing football and just carrying on with my life.”
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