Ex-Norwich City player John Fashanu received homophobic abuse when bother Justin came out
John Fashanu’s daughter has revealed the former Norwich City player received homophobic abuse from football fans after his brother, Justin, came out as gay.
Both brothers, who went to Attleborough High School, played for the Canaries in 1978, and when Justin left for Nottingham Forest in 1981 he became the first black footballer to command a £1m transfer fee.
He was also the first, and remains the only, top football player to be openly gay after coming out in the 1990s.
Twenty years after Justin’s death, John Fashnu’s daughter Amal, 29, has revealed that her father was also targeted with homophobic abuse, despite identifying as straight.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Miss Fashanu said: “They were both footballers and looked very similar. There were a lot of repercussions when Justin came out.
“My dad told me that at matches they would chant at him because they thought he was gay.”
John distanced himself from his brother when he spoke openly about his sexuality, but Miss Fashanu said her father regretted treating his brother this way.
“I don’t think he meant to sound as critical as he did,” she added. “He talked out of emotion and being in the moment and trying to protect himself.”
Now the Fashanu family are working on a campaign to tackle homophobia in football, twenty years after Justin killed himself following accusations of sexual assault.
Miss Fashanu said she hoped Justin’s “good friends” Sir Elton John and David Beckham will be part of the campaign and that she plans to tour schools across the UK and “educate kids from grassroots levels about the impact of homophobia and racism on players”.