The former football player of Nigerian descent, John Fashanu, admitted that he tried to prevent his gay brother, Justin Fashanu, from coming out by paying him £75,000 (N23 million).
John Fashanu, a former Wimbledon striker, made the confession a week after it emerged that two top footballers were planning to openly declare they are gay.
Justin Fashanu commited suicide in 1998, eight years after announcing he was gay. In John’s first in-depth interview about his brother, he said: “I begged him. I threatened him. I did everything I could possibly do to try and stop him coming out. I gave him the money because I didn’t want the embarrassment for me or my family. Had he come out now, it would be a different ball game.
“There wouldn’t be an issue, but there was then. Things are different now. Now he’d be hailed a hero. I’ll never forget when Justin first told me. He called me in the evening time and said to me: ‘I’m gay’. Then he said to me: ‘I’m planning to go to a newspaper’. I said to him: ‘Oh heavens forbid… oh my God. We don’t need that. You’re mad’.”
According to Daily Mirror, the younger Fashanu decided to bribe Justin so he would keep quiet about his homosexual status.
John Fashanu, 53, said: “He promised when I gave him the money that he would not go out and say that. Two days later… bang… headlines in a newspaper. I looked like a sucker. For me and my family it was like Hiroshima or Nagasaki on our lives. It knocked us dead, it was a total shock.
“People might not like it, but I was trying to protect my family. You’ve got to remember the public’s perception of homosexuality at that time was that it was an abomination. It was taboo. Street boys were beating up gays in nightclubs. I give him credit for having the courage to come out and say it. But it caused a lot of confusion and animosity towards him, me, and my family.”
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