In a recent interview with The Athletic, Jordan Henderson, the former Liverpool captain, addressed questions regarding his stance on supporting LGBTQ+ causes in Saudi Arabia.
During the interview conducted by David Ornstein and Adam Crafton, Henderson was asked whether he would continue to wear Rainbow Laces, as he had done during his time at Liverpool as part of the Rainbow Laces campaign.
Crafton inquired whether Henderson might cease this practice out of respect for the religious sentiments of the Saudi people.
Henderson responded, “I wouldn’t rule that out. But at the same time, what I wouldn’t want to do is disrespect the religion and culture in Saudi Arabia.”
Jordan Henderson has said his move to Saudi Arabia wasn’t motivated by money 🗣 pic.twitter.com/0FT2Z5yJMw
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 5, 2023
The English midfielder further elaborated, emphasizing, “If we’re all saying everybody can be who they want to be and everybody is inclusive, then we’ll have to respect that. We’ll have to respect everyone. And by doing something like that, if that did disrespect the religion, then no, I’m not going to do that. But if the opportunity comes where I can do it and it doesn’t, then yeah, because that’s my value.”
Henderson’s move to Saudi side Al-Ettifaq sparked controversy in England, mainly due to the announcement video that chronicled his journey from youth soccer to Liverpool. The video prominently featured images from his time at Liverpool, but a significant alteration caught the public’s attention.
In many images in the video, Henderson’s captain’s armband had been modified with a grayscale filter, effectively concealing the rainbow-colored armband he had previously worn in support of LGBTQ+ causes.
“His reputation has changed overnight!”
“I thought it was embarrassing. He’s taking us for fools. Football fans aren’t stupid!” 😡
Henry Winter blasts Jordan Henderson’s interview about why he’s gone to Saudi. 😳 pic.twitter.com/eiP4Ie5p35
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) September 6, 2023
Saudi Arabia is known for its strict policies against homosexuality and, consequently, the LGBTQ+ community. Henderson’s decision to join a country with these policies has drawn criticism, particularly considering his vocal support for LGBTQ+ issues in England, where he has advocated for inclusivity and acceptance.
Jordan Henderson spoke to Mohamed Salah over potential Saudi Move
Jordan Henderson also touched upon the topic of his former teammate Mohamed Salah’s potential move to Al-Ittihad for a reported world-record fee of $270 Million with add-ons.
When asked if he had conversed with Salah regarding the move to Saudi Arabia, Henderson responded, “Obviously, I spoke to him briefly over the past week or two in terms of asking if I was okay, everything was all right, how I’m settling in, the normal sort of stuff. I’ve sort of left him with this.”
He continued, “I don’t really know exactly what’s going on. I just see what’s being said in the media in terms of the bids going in and things like that. It’ll be interesting to see what happens because he’s an amazing player, an amazing guy, and whatever happens, he’ll have a big impact.”
Jordan Henderson on Mo Salah:
“Whatever happens, he’ll have a big impact, whether that’s at Liverpool or in the Saudi League.” pic.twitter.com/9l7oAnEGoo
— – (@JoshLFC1909) September 5, 2023
Furthermore, there has been a notable rise in the Liverpool connection in Saudi Arabia this summer. In addition to Jordan Henderson’s move to Al-Ettifaq, the club is currently managed by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.
Another former Liverpool midfielder, Georginio Wijnaldum, recently joined Al-Ettifaq from PSG. Meanwhile, Brazilian midfielder Fabinho made a transfer from Liverpool to Al-Ittihad during the summer.
In the ongoing transfer saga, Al-Ittihad has actively been pursuing Mohamed Salah over the past few weeks, aiming to secure the Egyptian winger’s services before the transfer window in Saudi Arabia closes on September 7.