John Fashanu has shamefully revealed how he responded to his brother becoming the first British football star to come out as gay � by paying him �75,000 to keep quiet.
The former Super Eagles striker made the shock admission a week after it emerged two top footballers including an England star � plan to come out .
In his first in-depth interview about brother Justin since his tragic suicide in 1998, 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’.
�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.
�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.
�During matches, 30, 40, sometimes 45,000 supporters sang at me: ‘You’re big… you’re black… your a*** is up for grabs… Fashanu… Fashanu’.�As a result of him saying what he said, my mother died because of the stress. She actually died a year later on the day of his birthday.”She was already old, very fragile and suffering cancer.�Then to be told her second eldest son was a homosexual was too much.”�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.
�He committed suicide because he was so distraught the world would not accept a black man who was homosexual.
“I couldn’t understand it and I couldn’t accept it and so whatever relationship we had before was killed .
�Previous to that, we had been very close, but it just shattered everything. I didn’t speak to him again. There’s a lot of sadness and regrets.”
Of the two football stars preparing to come out as gay , which the Daily Mirror revealed last week: �If these young men feel it is the right time to come out and announce they are homosexual, please don’t anybody victimise them.
�Please be careful with words, don’t let it lead to the destruction of two men in their prime. I didn’t have that wisdom 20 years ago and it led to the destruction of my late brother Justin.
�We must accept them. I beg everybody not to make the same mistakes I made. Give them as much understanding as possible.”
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