July 25 – In a stark example of the effect of homophobia in football, a Twitter user who claimed to be a player in England’s second-tier Championship, and who intended to come out as gay, has appeared to change his mind after admitting he is “not strong enough to do this”.
In his first tweet the account holder said he would “reveal his identity soon”.
The player would have made history, becoming the first active professional footballer since 1990 to come out as gay while playing in the top four divisions of the English game.
Days after launching the account, the footballer said his club was aware of his sexuality and had shown support for his decision to come out publicly.
But having promised a news conference and media interviews, the purported player said he couldn’t reveal his identity and the account was deleted having amassed more than 50,000 followers.
“Call me all the names under the sun, belittle me and ridicule me, a lot will, and I can’t change that, but I’m not strong enough to do this,” the anonymous player declared before closing the account. “Just remember that I’ve got feelings, without coming out I can’t convince anybody otherwise, but this isn’t a hoax. I wouldn’t do that.”
Justin Fashanu remains the only British male player to have publicly come out while playing in the Football League. In May 1998 he took his own life.
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