After an English Premier League (EPL) player recently sent an anonymous letter to The Sun, expressing his fears over declaring himself openly gay, Merel van Dongen has together with Ana Romero, launched the successful hashtag #YouCanCountOnMe on Twitter to support the player in coming out.
The Atlético Madrid and Dutch “Oranje Leeuwinnen” defender van Dongen has a relationship with the recently retired Spanish footballer, Ana Romero who was also her teammate at Ajax and Real Betis. The pair has now initiated the campaign to help the EPL player in his struggle to come out as gay.
In the already viral tweet, which Romero has translated and shared in Spanish, van Dongen encourages the professional male footballer to reveal his identity, writing “I am sure that there are SO MANY people supporting him.”
The player in question has sent an anonymous letter to the British newspaper The Sun, explaining that he would like to declare himself openly gay but that he is holding back for fear of “what they will say” and a possible negative reaction from his teammates and coaches, from the managers in the club and / or fans.
The 27-year-old van Dongen and 33-year-old Romero have invited everyone “to use” the solidarity hashtag “to also show your support” for the frightened footballer. Van Dongen has also publicly thanked the massive response the couple have received while encouraging people “to keep it up.”
In addition, van Dongen by addressing the anonymous footballer, stresses and encourages that: “It’s all about legacy. You can still be the 1st gay footballer. You have history + future in your hands. This can be your legacy. It’s scary to walk up front. It’s scary to be the 1st. All we can do is build a safe environment. Let him know we support him.”
Van Dongen finishes with the words that love is love and it’s time for a change in football where it’s not yet ok to be gay.