‘Gay footballer’ deletes Twitter after admitting he is ‘not strong enough to come out’

User, who claims to be an anonymous Championship footballer, had planned to reveal his identity on Wednesday

Jack Rathborn
Wednesday 24 July 2019 09:33 BST
The Twitter account claiming to be a gay footballer has been deleted
The Twitter account claiming to be a gay footballer has been deleted (Twitter/@FootballerGay)

A Twitter user claiming to be an anonymous gay Championship footballer has deleted his account after admitting he is “not strong enough to come out”.

The @FootballerGay account had outlined his intent to hold a press conference on Wednesday to reveal his identity.

But two posts on Tuesday evening to more than 50,000 followers revealed the plan had changed.

“I thought I was stronger. I was wrong,” read the initial message before a more detailed explanation followed.

“Call me all the names under the sun, belittle me and ridicule me, a lot will, and I can’t change that, but I’m not strong enough to do this.

“Just remember that I’ve got feelings, without coming out I can’t convince anybody otherwise, but this isn’t a hoax. I wouldn’t do that.”

Gary Lineker and Marvin Sordell were among those to publicly show their support for the player.

He is believed to be under the age of 23 and currently playing in the Championship. He said he had recently told his family he was gay and had spoken to his club’s manager and chairman about his plans to come out publicly.

The player, if genuine, would have become the first gay male professional footballer in Britain since Justin Fashanu, who came out in 1990 and later took his own life.

Fashanu’s niece, Amal Fashanu, said she was “pretty disheartened” by the deletion of The Gay Footballer account.

She told Sky News: “It’s actually upsetting. Have we made it that bad, the environment in football, that no one can actually come out?

“I’m just disappointed in a way and I feel kind of upset because if he actually is real and feels like he can’t come out, that’s really bad.”

Ms Fashanu, the daughter of former Wimbledon striker John Fashanu, had previously warned it would be “detrimental” to tackling homophobia in football if the account turned out to be a hoax.

She also questioned whether Twitter was the right environment for a player to come out.

Former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger is one of the most high-profile players in British game to come out as gay. The Germany international had already retired before making his sexuality public.

The Football Association this year took part the London's Pride march for the first time and has also backed Stonewall's rainbow laces campaign, which encourages players to show support for gay and trans people, in recent years.

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