Antonio Cassano: Italy Striker Makes Controversial Anti-Gay Comments

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2012

KRAKOW, POLAND - JUNE 12:  Antonio Cassano of Italy during a UEFA EURO 2012  press conference at Casa Azzurri on June 12, 2012 in Krakow, Poland.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Italian striker Antonio Cassano has revealed that he doesn't want any gay players in the national team squad.

In an article in The Guardian, Cassano is quoted as saying:

Queers in the national team? That's their business. But I hope not.

The article also says the quote came as a result of questions regarding rumors that there are "two metrosexual players and two homosexual players in the Italy squad."

Some might note that it's a bit ironic that these comments would come from a player in the Italian national team—the same Italy team that had complained to UEFA over racial abuse toward striker Mario Balotelli.

That's not to say that Italy shouldn't be upset about the abuse toward Balotelli, but the association should perhaps work on its own players a little more openly as well.

Prior to these comments, many fans had been fully behind Cassano. Always the character on and off the pitch, Cassano made his return this past April after suffering from stroke-like symptoms in November 2011. Many wondered if at 29 years old, he would be able to return to football at all.

He had a good showing in the 1-1 draw against Spain on Sunday.

The comments are not incendiary to the extent that they'll cast a huge shadow over the team's Euro efforts, but it doesn't do Cassano nor Italy any favors.

Italy doesn't play again until Thursday, so there's enough time for this episode to cool down before the Italians take on Croatia.