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Joey Barton: 'Hitzlsperger has shown a lot of courage'

QPR player Joey Barton has tweeted:

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Thomas Hitzlsperger has shown a lot of courage today. Sad times when people have to wait till they retire from their chosen profession...

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...before the feel other people will judge them solely on who the human being is. Shame on all of us as a society.

Hitzlsperger: 'I've never been ashamed of the way I am'

Former Premier League star Thomas Hitzlsperger said he has "never been ashamed of the way I am" after he revealed that he is gay.

Thomas Hitzlsperger has revealed he is gay. Credit: Joe Giddens /Everton FC

He told Zeit magazine: "I'm coming out about my homosexuality because I want to move the discussion about homosexuality among professional sportspeople forwards."

"I've never been ashamed of the way I am," he added.

Hitzlsperger also admitted that it has not always been easy living with some of the comments made on the subject, he said: "Just picture 20 men sat around a table together drinking.

"You've just got to let the majority be, just as long as the jokes are halfway funny and the talk about homosexuality doesn't get too insulting. In England, Germany or Italy, homosexuality is not taken seriously as an issue, at least not in the dressing room."

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Former Premier League footballer reveals he is gay

A former Everton, West Ham and Aston Villa player has become the first ex-Premier League footballer to announce that he is gay.

Thomas Hitzlsperger while playing for Everton. Credit: PA

Thomas Hitzlsperger, who won 52 caps for Germany, made the announcement in Zeit magazine.

The 31-year-old, who has retired from professional football, said his sexuality "only dawned on" him in recent years.

Former Norwich City and Nottingham Forest footballer Justin Fashanu was the first top-flight footballer to reveal he was gay.

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