Football's last taboo

Testo suffered abuse from fellow professionals

Last Updated: 13/03/12 5:12pm

David Testo has spoken about his experience of coming out as one of the world's very few openly gay footballers - revealing the abuse and support he has received.

"Having to play at a high level and compete in an environment that is not accepting, it almost kills your energy every day"

David Testo

Quotes of the week

The 30-year-old former Montreal Impact midfielder, who came out publicly in November 2011, told his story as part of Sky Sports News' Special Report on homophobia in sport.

"I don't want to be portrayed as a victim," he told Sky Sports. "However there were moments during competition when I did get verbal abuse from other players.

"I wouldn't want to repeat what they said. In moments of competition an opponent will always use whatever they can to get ahead and take advantage of that moment."

He continued: "For me when I look back I really realise how hard it was and how hard it is for those players who are going through it right now.

"Not to be able to express the one thing that means the most to you is energy draining. Having to play at a high level and compete in an environment that is not accepting, it almost kills your energy every day."

Would he advise players to come out publicly?

Testo was surprised by the number of gay football players that contacted him, having previously been unaware of any other gay footballers in his past ten years in professional football.

"When I advise them I can only speak to them from my perspective," he said. "I don't urge them to come out at all unless they have that foundation and need to come out to the public.

"Athletes and footballers are under even more pressure. They have even bigger contracts and even bigger sponsors they have to think about."

Testo began his senior career with Richmond Kickers in 2003 before moving on to Columbus Crew, Vancouver Whitecaps and then Montreal Impact in 2007. He is currently without a club, despite not retiring from the game, and he hopes his sexuality is not a factor in that situation.

"They just didn't' feel that it would help my career or help the pressure that I was going to experience from the effect," he said. "May be they were looking out for themselves slightly because they wanted me to perform and focus. But I don't think they saw the really positive side of helping people like me grow and relax.

"I hope that I wasn't let go because I was gay. I know for a fact that before I came out publicly I did have quite a bit of interest going. After I came out publicly a lot of those went quiet, which is fine because I don't want to go somewhere I am not accepted."