Gay Premier League star releases anonymous letter through Justin Fashanu Foundation
PUBLISHED: 17:14 11 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:28 11 July 2020
An organisation set up in memory of Justin Fashanu has shared a letter from a current Premier League footballer who says he feels he is unable to come out as gay.
The Justin Fashanu Foundation, which is run by the player’s niece Amal, released a letter from the player, who said he did not think the sport was ready for a player to come out and that his manager or teammates were not aware of his situation.
The foundation, which focuses on tackling racism, homophobia and mental health in football, was set up in memory of the late striker who endured years of discrimination over his race and sexuality.
Last month fans launched a petition to have the 37-year-old immortalised in a statue at Carrow Road.
In the letter released by the foundation, the player wrote: There is something that sets me apart from most of the other players in the Premier League, I am gay. Even writing that down in this letter is a big step for me.
“But only my family members and a select group of friends are aware of my sexuality. I don’t feel ready to share it with my team or my manager.
“That’s hard. I spend most of my life with these guys and when we step out on the pitch we are a team.
“But still, something inside me makes it impossible for me to be open with them about how I feel. I dearly hope one day soon I will be able to.”
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The player says he is highlighting his plight in order to pinpoint how difficult it would be for someone to disclose their sexuality in the current environment.
He added: “The truth is I just don’t think football is ready yet for a player to come out. The game would need to make radical changes in order for me to feel able to make that step.
“What those running the game need to do is educate fans, players, managers, agents, club owners - basically everyone involved in the game.
“If I was to make that step I’d want to know that I would be supported at each step of my journey. Right now, I don’t feel I would be.
“I wish I didn’t have to live my life in such a way. But the reality is there is still a huge amount of prejudice in football.
“I know it might get to the point where I find it impossible to keep living a lie. If I do my plan is to retire early and come out.
“I might be throwing away years of a lucrative career. But you can’t put a price on your peace of mind. And I don’t want to live like this forever.”
Visit www.thejustinfashanufoundation.com for more information about the Justin Fashanu Foundation.
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