Skip to main content

German team to fly rainbow flag, 'making mark' against homophobia

updated 3:51 AM EDT, Fri July 12, 2013
In a game last season, St. Pauli fans unfurled a banner and showed their support for members of the gay community.
In a game last season, St. Pauli fans unfurled a banner and showed their support for members of the gay community.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • German team St. Pauli to fly rainbow flag in recognition of the gay community
  • American Robbie Rogers was the first openly gay male athlete to play in a U.S. pro match
  • Rogers returned to soccer after retiring and announcing he was gay in February

(CNN) -- Germany's St. Pauli plans on further supporting the gay community by permanently flying the rainbow flag -- which symbolizes gay pride -- at its stadium from this season.

"The club has been active for many years against homophobia and discrimination," St. Pauli's vice-president Gernot Stenger told the club website. "With this flag we are giving this highly visible sign that these issues have great importance at St. Pauli and we are working hard on them."

A member of the club's gay and lesbian fan club, Dirk Brullau, backed the initiative and said it would be a "quantum leap for the football world" if a Bundesliga team followed suit.

Hamburg's St. Pauli, which enjoys a cult following due to the skull and crossbones shown on the flag of its supporters, plays in Germany's second tier.

Its move comes less than two months after American Robbie Rogers became the first openly gay male athlete to play in a U.S. professional match.

Read: Rogers makes Galaxy debut

April 2013: Rogers on why he came out
Soccer star: Gay but lived stereotype
Rogers: Couldn't play soccer as openly gay

Rogers initially retired from soccer in February, announcing he was gay.

He unretired and signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS, making his debut in late May.

Jason Collins, a pro basketball player who announced he was gay in April, tweeted Rogers good luck.

"People are just really growing and accepting and loving," Rogers said earlier in May. "Those other things are just not that important to them.

"I think as the younger get older and the generations come and go, I think times are just becoming more accepting."

But for now no soccer player from the Bundesliga or one of the other elite divisions in Europe has come out as gay, with German international teammates Mario Gomez and Tim Wiese seemingly taking different views on whether they should.

Read: The Secret Footballer on homophobia

Three years ago, Gomez urged gay players to go public.

Wiese, however, said they would be "destroyed" by "merciless fans," the Guardian reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel last year said gay footballers shouldn't be worried about revealing their sexuality.

"Anyone who sums up the strength and bravery should know that they live in a land where they have nothing to fear," said Merkel.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:48 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
updated 2:19 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT