A couple of Tweeters have been in touch to note that I hadn't commented on Thomas Hitzlsperger coming out earlier this week. Presumably this is because homosexuality in football is an issue I've returned to consistently since starting this blog (the last piece can be found here. That article contains links to all other pieces I've written on the subject).
There isn't a huge amount to say.
I, like the rest of humanity no doubt, hope that Hitzlsperger is a happier man now than he was a week ago, I wish him well and - I hope - that the overwhelming support of the football world has made it a little easier for the next player to come out. I always rather liked Hitzlsperger as a player and he has always come across in interviews and on the pitch as a thoroughly decent chap.
Moreover, I hope that people don't focus on his homosexuality. We don't define other footballers by their heterosexuality. We define them by what they achieved on the pitch and how they conducted themselves on the pitch.
Yes, of course, in the short-term (as I am doing) people will discuss the matter but, ultimately, who he lives with and who he loves is irrelevant. He shouldn't be thought of as ''the gay footballer'' but rather as a footballer. He just happens to be gay.
There is little doubt that Hitzlsperger at this stage is the highest profile player to come out. He played at the World Cup (finishing third), at the European Championships (where he was a runner up) and captained Stuttgart to the Bundesliga title. He scored the decisive goal in that title run-in. I doubt a better goal has ever won a title.
Because of this profile, some have already criticised him from coming out after retirement. How dare they?
The decision to come out - or not - is a profoundly personal one no doubt made infinitely more difficult because of the sometimes hostile environment of, and within, football towards homosexuals. Never mind that Hitzlsperger himself has noted that it is only relatively recently that he has become fully aware of his sexuality himself.
During his career, Hitzlsperger worked against racism, antisemitism and other forms of discrimination. It is not surprising then that as he has come out so publicly he now wishes to move the discussion forward and, tellingly, wants to contribute to that discussion.
When Robbie Rogers came out last year there was a disappointment from many that he didn't want to be a standard bearer for gay rights within the game. I felt that Rogers didn't need to - he might, heaven forfend, just want to live his life. If Hitzlsperger wants to take an active role in the debate then that could be huge for the game. An eloquent, multi-lingual, likeable, and successful player making a case that any right-thinking person agrees with? This should be easy. Let's hope it is. All power to his elbow.
One day a player coming out won't be an issue. Hitzlsperger's brave decision, and enthusiasm for the debate, makes that day a little closer.