Former Spanish footballer Iker Casillas has apologised to the LGBTQ+ community after he appeared to come out as gay on social media. The renowned goalkeeper claims that he was hacked, after a tweet reading: “I hope you respect me, I’m gay,” was published from his profile on Sunday, October 9.
“Hacked account. Luckily everything is in order. Apologies to all my followers. And of course, more apologies to the LGBT community,” the Real Madrid legend posted shortly after the original tweet.
Cuenta hackeada. Por suerte todo en orden. Disculpas a todos mis followers. Y por supuesto, más disculpas a la comunidad LGTB. 🙏
— Iker Casillas (@IkerCasillas) October 9, 2022
Before the fraudulent coming out post was deleted, another retired Spanish star Carles Puyol responded to it, saying “It’s time to tell them about us, Iker” with a kissing emoji. Puyol has also since apologised for his comment, calling it a “clumsy joke with no bad intentions and totally out of place.”
“All my respect and support to the LGBTQIA+ community,” the former Barcelona captain added.
Me he equivocado. Perdón por una broma torpe sin ninguna mala intención y absolutamente fuera de lugar. Entiendo que puede haber herido sensibilidades. Todo mi respeto y apoyo a la comunidad LGTBIQA+
— Carles Puyol (@Carles5puyol) October 9, 2022
Despite Casillas claiming he was hacked, both players have received backlash for their posts. Openly gay footballer Josh Cavallo was among those disappointed, criticising them for “joking and making fun of coming out in football”.
“It’s a difficult journey that any LGBTQ+ ppl have to go through. To see my role models and legends of the game make fun out of coming out and my community is beyond disrespectful,” the Adelaide United midfielder continued.
@IkerCasillas and @Carles5puyol joking and making fun out of coming out in football is disappointing. It’s a difficult journey that any LGBTQ+ ppl have to go through. To see my role models and legends of the game make fun out of coming out and my community is beyond disrespectful pic.twitter.com/Yp88aQyyTV
— Josh Cavallo (@JoshuaCavallo) October 9, 2022
Pride in Football, a UK-based queer fan group, issued its own statement in response to the tweets, noting that they were particularly harmful ahead of the Qatar World Cup.
“In November, the World Cup is in a country that persecutes people because of their gender identity and sexual orientation.
“High profile sports stars joking about that exact thing is damaging to the people in the community.”
The organisation also highlighted that there were many homophobic responses to the original post, adding: “let’s hope the consequences of this tweet don’t make other male professional footballers think they can’t share who they are.”
Although there has been recent progress within football regarding the presence and visibility of openly queer male players, incidents like this suggest that homophobia is still rife within the sport.
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