Why should Idrissa Gueye wear a rainbow t-shirt? | The viewer

A fight has broken out over rainbows in football. Paris St-Germain players donned brightly colored numbers, a show of support for this week’s ‘International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia’. But one player was missing from the lineup: Idrissa Gueye.

PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino said Gueye missed the game against Montpellier, which his team won 4-0, for “personal reasons”. He has now transpired that he refused to play so as not to have to wear the rainbow symbol.

Did Gueye, a devout Muslim who regularly shares messages about his faith on social media, have the right to take such a position? Senegalese President Macky Sall thinks so. “I support Idrissa Gana Gueye,” he said. ‘His religious convictions must be respected.’

The French Football Federation sees things differently. In a letter to Gueye, the FFF has reportedly asked him to “issue a public apology” or clarify that the rumors that he refused to play are “baseless”.

Gueye at least has the backing of a few other players: Crystal Palace’s Cheikhou Kouyate and Watford’s Ismaila Sarr have both posted in support of their Senegal team-mate. “We wholeheartedly support you, brother,” said Kouyate, Gueye’s midfielder.

Now both Kouyate and Sarr are in trouble too. Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira said: “We are against any form of discrimination” and has confirmed that he will speak to Kouyate. Meanwhile, Watford has reiterated ‘its long-term commitment to… the values ​​of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion’.

The rainbow flag is big business: corporations use it to signal their support for LGBT rights. Banks change their logos to show the rainbow. Burger King once whipped up a ‘pride whopper’ to celebrate LGBT customers.

Even the Newcastle United players, who feature every week for a club owned by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, wear rainbow laces. But how does this benefit gay Saudis facing the death penalty 4,000 miles away from St James’ Park? Do the colorful shoelaces help Suhail al-Jameel, a gay Saudi social media influencer who was jailed, and remains behind bars, nearly two years later, after posting a topless photo of himself in rainbow-print shorts? leopard?

As for Gueye, should we be mad at him for not playing with the colors of the rainbow? Would it be better to focus on his club, PSG, owned by Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar? Male homosexuality remains illegal in Qatar and the death penalty hangs over Muslims who have same-sex relationships. At least one gay footballer has spoken out about his fears about playing in the World Cup later this year, which will be hosted by Qatar.

PSG have said they are “very proud to wear this (rainbow) shirt”. “The biggest stars in world football were on the pitch on Saturday and expressed the club’s commitment to fighting homophobia and all forms of discrimination,” he added in a statement.

That ‘fight against homophobia’ should start by helping those who have been imprisoned for being homosexual, not by harassing those who refuse to play dressed in the colors of the rainbow.


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