Former player Vampeta, who popularized the pejorative term “bambi” to refer to São Paulo players and fans, yesterday praised his colleague Richarlyson’s decision to reveal that he is bisexual. Richarlyson, three-time Brazilian champion with São Paulo, thus became the first openly non-heterosexual player to have played in the national football elite.
For Vampeta, Richarlyson “is a hell of a guy, very nice people, very sweet, a dedicated athlete who has had a very solid and beautiful career.” Hours earlier, Richarlyson, 39, had revealed to the podcast “In the locker room”, from “GE”, that he had dated both men and women. The declaration was considered a milestone on the issue of sexuality in the football environment.
“To each his own, I respect him regardless of his sexual option. It’s his option, he does what he wants. Where he played, he played well. He has the respect not only of me, but of all athletes”, said Vampeta, who he is now a sports commentator, as is Richarlyson.
The two even played against each other in 2007, in a classic won by Corinthians in Morumbi, by the Brazilian. In the early 2000s, the Corinthians midfielder was responsible for popularizing the nickname “bambi” to refer to São Paulo, which always annoyed both players and fans. That’s how he called opponents in an interview before a decisive derby, and the term stuck.
In 2022, Vampeta preached respect for gay and bisexual people on or off the field and said he had a lesbian sister. “Everyone has to be respected,” he said. “My sister is [homossexual] and I love her just the same. If she were, if she wasn’t, love is what counts.”
Richarlyson said he was always asked to take a stand
The former midfielder of São Paulo and Atlético-MG, Libertadores champion for both clubs, said that he was always questioned about his own sexuality throughout his career.
“I’ve been asked all my life if I’m gay. I’ve had a relationship with a man and I’ve had a relationship with a woman too. But then I talk here today and soon the news will be printed: ‘Richarlyson is bisexual’. And the meme already come ready. They’ll say: ‘Wow, but I swear? I didn’t even imagine’. Man, I’m normal, I have wants and desires. I’ve dated a man, I’ve dated a woman, but so what? commentator in an interview with the podcast ‘Nos Armários dos Vestiários’.
“It’s going to paint a headline that Richarlyson talked about in a podcast that is bisexual. Cool. And then it will rain with reports, and most importantly, which is the agenda, it will not change, which is the issue of homophobia. Unfortunately, the world will not is prepared to have this discussion and deal with it naturally”, added the first player who played in Serie A of the Brazilian Championship and in the national team to talk about the subject openly.
“Because of the many people who say that my position is important, today I decided to say: I’m bisexual. If that’s what was missing, ok. That’s it. Now I want to see if it will really improve, because that’s my question,” he said. Richalyson’s sexuality became a public debate in June 2007, when José Cyrillo Júnior, a Palmeiras leader at the time, insinuated on national television that he was gay.
Ricky filed a criminal complaint against the top hat, and he publicly apologized. However, Manoel Maximiniano Junqueira Filho, the judge in the case, dropped the case on the grounds that homosexuals would not be acceptable in Brazilian football because it would harm the team’s thinking. He also mentioned in the sentence that football was a ‘macho thing’.