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Tackling the taboos

FF Show viewers feel homophobia is still evident, says David

David Jones - David Jones Posted 2nd October 2012 view comments

When set the challenge of bringing The Footballers' Football Show back to Sky Sports this season after a 14-year hiatus, our remit was to talk about the issues which surround the game we all love.

Despite huge steps forward even in that time, discrimination still remains one of football's biggest, brought to the fore again by the furore surrounding the John Terry case.

The campaign to kick racism out is gathering pace and it seems we are not far from creating a zero-tolerance attitude, but now is the time to stamp out discrimination in all its forms, including homophobia.

Pericard: the former Portsmouth striker will join the debate about depression

Pericard: the former Portsmouth striker will join the debate about depression

The lack of openly-gay footballers remains a major concern to campaigners who fear football's macho environment still makes it impossible for homosexual players to be open about who they really are.

On last week's show, Simon Jordan, Martin Allen and Ugo Ehiogu reached the common conclusion that homophobia is not an issue: if players chose to come out it wouldn't be a big deal, they surmised - but your feedback told us otherwise.

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Ehiogu told us he wasn't aware of any gay footballers; Jordan claimed it was none of our business what players did in their private lives; while Allen, the manager, said he would support his player to the hilt if he wanted to be open about his sexuality.

Football needs to do more to keep homophobia in the spotlight and to encourage inclusivity both on the pitch and in the stands, you said.

This week we tackle another of football's great taboos: depression - the invisible illness which is impossible to quantify. Those it envelops suffer in different ways but suffer they do.

Our panellists this week have all played at the top level, yet have all been beaten down by the dark clouds of doom that can strike regardless of wealth or lifestyle.

Darren Eadie, Vincent Pericard and Clarke Carlisle will share their stories with us which in one case ended in prison.

The trio will tell us how football is now slowly emerging from the darkness by confronting mental illness with a vigour previously only preserved for physical ailments.

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