Former UK Footballer John Fashanu Says He Paid His Late Brother To Not Come Out
A former soccer player says he regrets paying his brother to keep him in the closet.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, brothers John and Justin Fashanu were two professional soccer players in Europe. While Justin Fashanu was performing wonderfully at the sport, he had a dark secret that both men kept close to the chest.
You see, Justin Fashanu was a closeted gay man who was deeply troubled by having to hide his sexuality. Sadly, his brother John was no help at all.
"It was a lack of education," the John Fashanu, a former Wimbledon and Aston Villa striker, told ITV's Good Morning Britain.
"I make it very clear I was a monster to Justin then. I paid him £75,000 not to say that he was gay."
"I was looking at the situation around us and my mother had cancer and was dying, and the rest of the family couldn't understand the situation."
"We didn't know what to do, the best thing I thought to do was to keep it quiet."
While Justin Fashanu was doing well in the Football Association, enough to become the first black player to successfully demand £1 million transfer fee when he moved from Norwich to Forest in 1981, staying in the closet haunted him.
Then in 1990, Justin Fashanu came out and continued to play for almost 20 clubs until he retired in 1997. Sadly, he then committed suicide in 1998.
Now, John Fashanu is committed to righting the wrongs he did to his brother by speaking out for the closeted players currently in the league.
"We have a number of well-known footballers who are gay and they don't feel comfortable with the environment," he said.
"They know their empires will be destroyed. It is supporters, administrators ... not so much the players, because they know who is gay and who is not gay.
"They give each other support, but it is quite gentle support.
"We are pushing the FA needs to create an environment where gay footballers are comfortable to come out and say: 'I'm gay.'"