We praise passion, but what about disgusting language?

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It’s been great hearing all the positive support that former Premier League footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger has received after revealing he is gay.

He’s the second well-known sportsman to come out in recent weeks, after Olympic diver and part-time TV presenter Tom Daley told the world he was in a relationship with a man.

I remember a thunderbolt of a goal that Thomas scored for Aston Villa when they played Pompey at Fratton Park a few years back.

A promising young German midfielder with a hammer of a left foot, he’d go on to play for his country and also in the top flight in Germany as well as the Premier League here.

But isn’t it strange how, although he has received nothing but total support now, he felt he was simply unable to come out whilst he was still playing. Why is that?

This intelligent and articulate man also revealed in a recent interview that he didn’t know of any other Premier League player who was gay.

Taking into account the law of averages and considering the amount of Premier League footballers there are, it seems impossible that he is alone.

Sadly though, a football stadium continues to be the only public place where foul and racist language and homophobia is still tolerated by others.

We may hear of fans being prosecuted for using such vile words.

But the reality is that there’s still safety in numbers and at most matches such words continue to be aggressively expressed.

My regard for the game changed when I regularly heard a certain swear word being used in a chant.

Do these people not realise that women and children are watching the game and really don’t want to hear that kind of thing?

We’re quick to praise supporters for passion and loyalty, but nothing is ever mentioned about some of the disgusting language used during a game.

I know every club in the land will have some supporters who will do it.

But all the while this is tolerated, football will still be in the dark ages and young gay players will continue to live a life of secrecy.