England news February 28, 2011

Steven Davies reveals he is gay

ESPNcricinfo staff

England and Surrey wicketkeeper Steven Davies has revealed he is gay, becoming the first playing professional cricketer to so. Davies, who was part of England's successful Ashes tour, went public with the news in an interview with the Daily Telegraph . He said he was comfortable with who he is and hopes his announcement would make it easier for others to be open about their sexuality.

"I'm comfortable with who I am - and happy to say who I am in public," Davies said. "To speak out is a massive relief for me, but if I can just help one person to deal with their sexuality then that's all I care about."

Davies came out to his friends and family five years ago and confided in England coach Andy Flower ahead of the Ashes tour, with Flower and captain Andrew Strauss then letting the rest of the squad know.

"It was a fantastic thing to do, telling the lads," he said. "The difference is huge. I am so much happier. I told Andy Flower first. It was a tough thing for me to do, to tell him face-to-face, but I had to do it. He supported me 100%, [both] him and Andrew Strauss. It was the right thing to do as I felt I couldn't live like this anymore.

"I didn't enjoy going on tour too much because of the secret, and the Ashes was going to be a 3½-month tour. That's a long time and I would have really struggled to finish it. My sexuality is an essential part of who I am, so I wanted the boys to know."

Strauss said that he would tell half the squad, with Flower telling the others. Two days later, Davies met his team-mates at Lord's, where their reaction could not have been more supportive.

"I was so nervous," he said. "I got there really early -- I was the first one. I couldn't think of anything except what they were going to say and how they would react. In fact, everyone was great. They just said it wasn't an issue."

Matt Prior, who was his rival for the wicketkeeping position and is playing that role in the World Cup, came over to give Davies a hug. "He couldn't believe I had kept it to myself for this long," Davies said. "He said I should have told him. That was special."

Davies becomes one of only a handful of professional sportsmen to come out. Footballer Justin Fashanu, who died in 1998, and dual-code rugby international Gareth Thomas are the only two British sportsman to previously do so during their playing careers. "Gareth Thomas' story helped me," Davies said. "It showed me it can be done. He was brave enough to stand up and say who he was. If I can help anyone else like he helped me, that would be great."

Flower said he has the full support of the England set up and backed Davies to regain his place in the one-day squad he lost just prior to the World Cup. "This is something Steve chose to discuss with me and the squad some time ago. I would like to make it very clear that Steve is first and foremost a very talented cricketer and a valued member of the England set-up.

"Steve has had and will continue to have the full respect and support of the entire squad and everyone involved in England cricket. I have no doubt that he will continue to work hard to regain a place in the England squad."

Davies' England team-mate batsman Ian Bell said the news had no affect on team whatsoever. "For us as a group, it didn't affect anything for Steve or any of the other lads," Bell said. "It helped him by speaking to the guys and we just got on with it. He's a fantastic cricketer and we're all with him. We support Steve as any of the other lads. He's a good mate of mine and that doesn't change absolutely anything. He's a massively important person in our team going forward. The more cricket he can play for England, the better."

Vikram Solanki, chairman of the Professional Cricketers' Association, and Davies' former team-mate at Worcestershire said: "Steve has the full support of all his colleagues in cricket. Many of those Steve plays with and against have known about this for some time and none of them regard it as anything other than an entirely personal matter."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ian on March 2, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    Given that many cricketers are Muslim (and make a great public show of their faith) and that Stephen Davies can hope to play Test/ODI/T20 cricket against them in his career, I am of the opinion that it is for these icons of and in other countries to come out and demonstrate their support of sportsmen and women by welcoming them into their sporting arenas, regardless of their sexual orientation. SD has, if you'll pardon the pun, thrown down the gauntlet to them - and shown great moral courage in doing so. There are, of course, many, many gay sportsmen and women in all cultures but they are afraid to come out. It would be brilliant, for example, if the PCB could make a public statement to the effect that SD and any other cricketers who are gay are most welcome in Pakistan (when Pakistan is able to host international cricket again). And, Steve, I wish you great success in your cricketing career - and now help get Surrey back in Div 1 - and then top of it!

  • Syed Omair on March 2, 2011, 5:18 GMT

    haa haa..... ENGLAND got 1 item to celebrat their victory in future :-)

    Gud Luck team mates .... enjoy

  • Henry on March 1, 2011, 23:09 GMT

    Yesterday I wrote to cricinfo and asked why there was no reference to this story fearing there was prejudice on this site not to place it. How wrong I was and after seeing various positive reactions in the comments I am glad this story is now out there. All the best to Steven Davies. I now plan to join Surrey CC though I am a lifelong Somerset supporter.

  • Dummy4 on March 1, 2011, 19:27 GMT

    Being gay in a team sport could be tough. You worry about your team-mates point of view (as Stephen clearly states above) You live in each others pockets on tour. It's hard. Justin Fashanu's story - his life, his ostricization, and his sad suicide show how this issue can effect sportsmen and women. It's very different from coming out in a solo sport - very different indeed. That's why so few have done it. Over 400 pro crickets in UK alone, a couple of thousand worldwide. Steve is the first to out himself, you can bet there are at least a hundred more. Being the first takes guts. Well done Steve, now get back to Worcestershire and play some proper Div One cricket rather than languishing down with your new Surrey mates in Div 2

  • Dummy4 on March 1, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    Profession homosexuality in an individual sport and doing the same in a team environment are very different issues. Just stop and think about what it entails. In some areas of the world this won't even be "news" in others it will be quite profound. I've shared dressing rooms in cricket and rugby with guys we've known were gay. It's really hard for them - essp in THAT environment. It takes a lot of guts to come out and say it. People get strange ideas and can be quite negative in these situations. It's good to hear that team England arent. So it's ok to say it's not news for you. You are lucky to live in an enlightened society where people are judged on their worth. However, for many cultures - an all male sporting environment and all that entails - and homosexuality are incompatible. The more people like Davies who come out the better Well done Steve - still shouldn't have gone to Surrey though mate. (you'd be playing Div 1 this year if you hadn't...lol)

  • Dummy4 on March 1, 2011, 12:28 GMT

    For those of you who think it is a "non story" or that "it doesn't matter, because it is his life" or "why did he do it, its his cricket we are interested in, not his sexuality". Well it may not have occurred to you, but it matters to Steven. As he is the one that had to live in denial in the middle, or in the dressing room. And if his revelation has relieved him of a burden, then maybe, just maybe that may help him to improve his game. And I am sure that he is not attention seeking in all this. God knows, he will attract some negative comments, but I would like to think positive attitudes can banish the negative ones into the closet, so to speak. Some of you guys may have forgotten "The Spirit of Cricket" so maybe you need to refresh your memories, and revise it once more.

  • Dummy4 on March 1, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    "Steven Davies reveals he is gay" ...wow!! But who is he? Isit worth of news?

  • Dru on March 1, 2011, 9:23 GMT

    I fail to understand how this is such a big deal in the free world we live and taken by suprise on how much it meant to Steve and him waiting the reaction of the team - that's intense and its really no body's business. Are we seriously suggesting in modern England in this day and age there those who would walk out the team (or something dramatic) because one of them was gay?? I think its more of a reflection of how backward the society is in relation to gay issues than anything else but good on Steven.

  • Dimuthu on March 1, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    I think Masudkhan and co. are missing the point here. this is a very significant moment for sport and esp cricket. Also, undoubtedly a massive relief for Davies. In an ideal world, he wouldn't have to admit anything. The same way Sachin wouldn't have to admit he writes left handed or that Sangakkara prefers coffee over tea. However, with homophobia being a MASSIVE issue in the world of sports (and the military) historically, and people having to feel they need to hide their homosexuality, I am sure Steve and other gay sportsmen have had nightmares that they can't express how they feel for fear of being judged, mocked, and abused. Hopefully in the years to come, sexual orientation won't be a big deal to anyone and this sort of thing will not be newsworthy.

  • Pushpakumara on March 1, 2011, 8:12 GMT

    No any problem with that.Some times their may be gay cricketers in other teams also. But they are not in public.You are a talented batsman and england's next main wicket keeper.You have a major role in england team.wish you a better future!

  • No featured comments at the moment.