Former footballer turned Sports Consultant, John Fashanu has opened up on the death of his Gay brother Justin Fashanu, admitting regret of being part of the culture that condemned his elder brother, leading to his death.
In 1988, the former Wimbledon star was in the glitzy Dorchester Hotel, celebrating with his team-mates after their FA Cup astonishing victory against Liverpool when a group of players were laughing and joking about the fact that his brother Justin was gay.
John says: ‘At that time, anybody saying my brother was gay was reason to fight them. Now you wouldn’t think twice about it. But then it was an insult to my family name. One of my brothers was gay. Are you mad?’
Ten years later his brother Justin, the first £1million black footballer and first openly gay professional killed himself after he became a victim of racism and homophobia.
He hanged himself in a deserted garage after being wrongly accused of sexual assault.
‘It was a horrible day,’ adds John, who was a year younger than his brother. ‘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.
‘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.