John Fashanu recently spoke about his concerns with the state of the Premier League there is yet to be a player who identifies as a homosexual.
According to the former sportsman, this situation ‘defies logic’ and shows the rank homophobia that still trails the league. Fashanu said this while reflecting on the death of his brother, Justin, who was the first £1m black footballer and the first openly gay professional in the English top flight.
Sky Sports reports that Justin was a victim of both racist and homophobic abuse during his career, and he eventually committed suicide in 1998 after being accused of sexual assault – an accusation he denied in his suicide note.
Now, 21 years on, John says the issues around his brother’s sexuality blighted his career and eventually led to his death, while the lack of an openly gay male player in the top division in 2019 is a “sad reflection” on the sport.
‘”It was a horrible day,” he told the Daily Mail. “While Justin wrestled with a number of personal demons in his life, it is clear that issues around his sexuality were at the heart of his problems.
He continued, “There is no question that the prejudice he encountered in his professional life as a top-flight footballer for club and country blighted his career and led eventually to his death. It is a sad reflection of the continuing issues that surround professional football that, 20 years after Justin’s death, there is not a single openly gay footballer in the Premier League. This is a situation that defies logic and underlines the fact that, 20 years after Justin’s death, it is still not considered advisable to be openly gay.”
Now, Fashanu and his older daughter, Amal, are launching The Justin Fashanu Foundation on April 1 in an attempt to stamp out homophobia in football and increase the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender players (LGBT) in football.