Ex-Wimbledon footballer and TV Presenter John Fashanu has caused a storm of controversy following his appearance on a BBC Three documentary about gay footballers.
The documentary is presented by Fashanu’s daughter Amal Fashanu and focuses on the story of Fashanu’s brother Justin, Britain’s first £1 million black player and the only footballer to ever openly come out as gay.
Soon after the news broke in 1990, his brother John disowned him stating that he would ‘have to suffer the consequences’ of going public, adding that he ‘would not want to play or even get changed’ with Justin.
Fashanu has attracted widespread condemnation for his actions at the time as well as his comments during the documentary:
“At the time, I was cross with my brother. It was the way it came out – cheap and dirty, horrible scandals day after day. Going on the front pages of the newspapers, saying you’d had sexual relationships with MPs.
Justin was selfish. I did what I thought was right for our family and for myself.”
He also added: “I think there’s more chance of the next Pope being black, than you finding a footballer who will come out and say he’s gay.”
Which is not surprising considering the fate of his brother: dogged by sex scandals and forced into coaching jobs abroad, Justin finally hung himself in 1998 following an accusation that he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old boy in America.
Twitter users were particularly vocal about Fashanu’s comments with New York Times bestselling author and former NBA basketball player John Amaechi stating: “The insincerity is positively flowing out of John Fashanu. Shame on him. You put the final nail in Justin’s coffin.”
Oh dear John, oh dear. It’s safe to say that no amount of ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’ is going to revive your career now. Times, thankfully, have changed.
By Rebecca Jones