Former footballer and Gladiators presenter John Fashanu has admitted that he paid brother Justin £75,000 to stop him coming out in 1990.
Justin Fashanu, who was the first black football player to command a £1 million transfer fee, came out in an interview with The Sun in October of 1990. It was the first and only time a premiership player has spoken openly about being gay.
After the revelations Justin’s career opportunities dwindled and on May 3, 1998 he was founded hanged in a deserted garage in Shoreditch, London.
Justin’s brother John, also a professional footballer and co-presenter of popular ‘90s game show Gladitors, now says that he paid Justin £75,000 in an attempt to keep him from coming out in the tabloid press.
“I begged him, I threatened him, I did everything I could possibly do to try and stop him coming out,’ John Fashanu said told The Mirror.
Justin alluded to this offer in a 1998 interview with Gay Times, in which he said that he had earned a considerable sum for his The Sun outing, but was offered even more money to keep quiet.
“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,” said John.
“He promised when I gave him the money he would not go out and say that. Two days later… bang… headlines in a newspaper. I looked like a sucker.”
“There wouldn’t be an issue, but there was then. Things are different now. Now he’d be hailed a hero.”
John, who after Justin’s admission said he would “not want to play or even get changed” in the same dressing room, says he now views the situation with regret.
“I’ve never spoken about these things before because I was stamped a homophobe, but things have changed and I make it very clear: I was wrong. It was ignorance on my behalf.”
“I didn’t understand him. I was trying to protect my family and I was worried about the effect on my career.
“In the process I lost my brother and I am very sad about that.”
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