England Football star, John Fashanu paid his gay brother £75,000 in a failed attempt to stop him from publicly coming out, it has been claimed.
The erstwhile Wimbledon player John, now 53, told the Mirror on Friday how he had “begged” and “threatened” Justin after discovering he planned to reveal his sexuality in The Sun.
Speaking about his 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.”
Justin Fashanu shot himself into the limelight with a stunning goal against Liverpool in 1980, Nottingham Forest subsequently shelled out a record £1million for him but he failed to hit the heights expected.
Photo credit: Getty Images
In a newspaper interview in 1990, he claimed to have had an affair with a married Tory MP he met in a gay bar. John, 53, said:
“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.” he added.
He added the discovery his brother was gay had been “like Hiroshima or Nagasaki on our lives”.
Justin killed himself in 1998 after allegations he had sexually assaulted a teenager in the States, which he denied.