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Justin Fashanu’s brother John was a ‘monster’ to gay footballer when he came out

Claire Toureille April 18, 2018
Justin Fashanu became the UK's first openly gay footballer

No-one playing in the Premier League has come out since Fashanu

John Fashanu, the brother of late footballer Justin Fashanu, has admitted he was a “monster” to his sibling when he came out.

Justin Fashanu was the first openly-gay professional footballer in Britain. He sensationally came out in The Sun in 1990. His life was later cut short in 1998 when he died by suicide.

In 2017, John Fashanu confessed he initially paid his brother £75,000 to keep his sexuality private. The TV presenter and former Wimbledon FC player now blames it on a “lack of education.”

“I was a monster to Justin back then,” said Fashanu on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Wednesday.

Expanding why he wanted to buy his brother’s silence, Fashanu explained he was motivated by complicated family circumstances at the time.

“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,” he said. “As I said, it was a lack of education. We didn’t know what to do, the best thing I thought to do was to keep it quiet.”

Forbidden Games, a 2017 documentary on Justin Fashanu, shone new light on the late footballer’s life and professional struggles as an out footballer. He died by suicide after he was accused and charged with sexual assault in the US.

“I realised that I had already been presumed guilty. I do not want to give any more embarrassment to my friends and family,” Fashanu wrote in a note at the time of his death.

Milwall forward John Fashanu pictured before a Canon League Division Three match between Millwall and Gillingham at the Old Den on March 1, 1985 in London, England. (Allsport/Getty)

At the time of the documentary’s release, John Fashanu told The Guardian: “He was my shining light. He became my arch enemy.”

The younger Fashanu explained he initially feared people would think he was gay, not his brother.

“I was worried that people would think it was me. John Fashanu, Justin Fashanu, J and J,” said Fashanu. “I was the hard man, we were hard men, Vinnie Jones, John Fashanu, Dennis Wise, we were the hard team with a macho, strong image, we had a massive following of people who loved the way we played, and suddenly my brother’s coming out and saying this?”

More: bigotry in football, football, John Fashanu, Justin Fashanu, LGBT rights, West Ham

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