John Fashanu admits paying his brother money to stop him admitting he was gay

John Fashanu admits paying his brother money to stop him admitting he was gay

Former football star John Fashanu has admitted paying his gay brother Justin £75,000 in a failed bid to get him to stay in the closet.

The former Wimbledon striker said he “begged and threatened” his brother not to “embarrass” his family by being open about his sexuality.

Justin, who played for Norwich and Nottingham Forest, nonetheless gave a newspaper interview in 1990 claiming to have had an affair with a married Tory MP. In doing so, he became the UK’s first openly gay footballer, but suffered abuse from fans and jibes from fellow players as a result.

Justin hanged himself, aged 37, in 1998 after being accused of sexual assault. No male footballer since has come out while still playing the sport professionally.

John Fashanu (left) with Justin in 1994, four years after Justin gave a newspaper interview confirming he was homosexual

John Fashanu (left) with Justin in 1994, four years after Justin gave a newspaper interview confirming he was homosexual

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, John Fashanu, 53, spoke of his “sadness and regrets” over the death of his brother, who was a year older than him. His comments followed reports that two high profile footballers, including an England player, plan to declare their homosexuality with the support of their clubs and the Football Association.

Fashanu said of his decision to pay his brother £75,000 to keep quiet: “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.”

Fashanu said that at that time, the public perceived homosexuality to be “an abomination” and “a taboo”. He told the newspaper that his brother’s openness about his sexuality caused confusion and animosity towards him and his family.

“Things are different now. Now he’d be hailed a hero,” he said.

Justin Fashanu, aged 20

Justin Fashanu, aged 20

Three years ago, Fashanu had said in an interview with TalkSPORT that he did not believe Justin was really gay, describing his brother as a publicity-seeker who made up stories to get money and attention. He said of football: “It’s a macho man’s game and I think there are reasons why we haven’t had any gay footballers come out. I don’t believe there will be. I’m not saying there aren’t some there, but I can tell you in twenty years of playing all my matches, I have never come across a gay footballer.”

However, in the interview with the Mirror, he urged people to be understanding if players do go public about their homosexuality. “If these young men feel it is the right time to come out and announce they are homosexual, please don’t anybody victimize them,” he said.

“Please be careful with words, don’t let it lead to the destruction of men in their prime.”

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  1. ken
    November 03, 05:44 Reply

    There’s a special place is hell reserved for this guy: John!

  2. Dennis Macaulay
    November 03, 05:58 Reply

    John is a big idiot! A very big one! He has changed mouth finally! I remember his interview several years ago on this issue where he claimed his brother was sick in the head and claiming he had relationships with people he did not. He accused the brother of blackmail and said he needed help and therapy at the time.

    Chai I dey vex! The mumu is forming contrite soul now! Ode! Even his daughter slammed him and accused him of causing the death of the uncle she never met.

    His brother should haunt him forever, if there is such a thing!

  3. law
    November 03, 06:10 Reply

    So sad….. Fashanu…. Nigerians right?

    • DeadlyDarius
      November 03, 07:05 Reply

      Yes the siblings were born in England to Nigerian parents…

  4. Mandy
    November 03, 06:17 Reply

    This Justin Fashanu has got to be the bravest Nigerian gay man ever. Well, right behind Bisi Alimi, that is. To come out in the prime of your football career, damning every consequence and understanding how hostile the gay clime is? Wow. It’s just really sad how bad his life eventually turned out. Who knows, if his family had rallied behind him, if John had come around to this his understanding and acceptance of the LGBT community then, perhaps he might have lived.
    Then again, it’s never too late to realize a mistake and do what you can to shine a light on the fact that many others are making the same mistake.

    • Marc Francis of Chelsea
      November 03, 14:06 Reply

      Little random known fact, the Fashanus weren’t the only prominent Nigerian family to have an openly gay son back then. Everyone knows the psychopath that is Femi Fani-Kayode (Olukayode), but few know that he had a VERY famous photographer brother named Rotimi who came out in the 80s. He became a symbol of black homosexuality everywhere from New York to London until his death from AIDS-related heart attack during the crux of the HIV epidemic.

  5. DeadlyDarius
    November 03, 07:04 Reply

    Na today day break?
    Anyways I guess better late than never….to admit you are wrong. Unfortunately it was decades too late for Justin. It was brilliant how John’s own daughter, thru d eyes of the evolving world zeitgeist, denounced her family’s treatment of Justin. A true trailblazer and hero who like all humans had his own flaws.

    *wondering which footballers they could be…and if any are truly high profile*

    • Dennis Macaulay
      November 03, 08:05 Reply


      You read the daughter’s interview when it came out right? I have been looking for it online to send to PP.

      John Fashanu is only trying to be politically correct now. A few years ago he was deviant that his brother was unstable bla bla bla.

      I dey vex as I am reading this because I had that issue of “Complete football” where he spoke about his brother. I don’t know where I threw it now….mstchew

      • DeadlyDarius
        November 03, 09:13 Reply

        Yes I read the full transcript of the interview with the daughter (who is lovely btw) and I think she’s into advocacy/NGO stuff. She really called her father and family out

  6. Chizzie
    November 03, 08:00 Reply

    In retrospect he should’ve just taken that £75,000 pounds , remained in the closet and come out now or after he was done playing professional football. Things have changed now, in the west so it would have been a better time to come out.

    Coming out requires perfect timing, amongst other things. You do not come up because you want to, or because it is a brave thing to do. You have to count the cost and see if coming out is worth it at the time.

    And for those blaming John, maybe shut up and see that he was only just looking out for his brother, if he’d just stayed in the closet a little while he wouldnt have killed himself.

    • Max
      November 03, 09:11 Reply

      I don’t know about you @Chizzie, but my freedom is not for sale, @least not for £75,000

  7. posh6666
    November 03, 08:37 Reply

    What a waste of a really HOT chocolate man……But why do the really hot ones kill their selves for Godsake?thats how i read about that guy that acted as Omoni Oboli’s husband in anchor baby jumping off a bridge,like apart from being an actor this guy was a major model for several designer brands i was so envious nawa!

  8. Max
    November 03, 09:13 Reply

    Khaleesi was right, Nigerians don’t change even when they’re abroad. Their DNA is laced with a potent amount of homophobia, so no matter where they’re born, it thrives inside them.

    November 03, 09:53 Reply

    Really Sad……John John, Igbayi laaro…..

  10. Khaleesi
    November 03, 11:13 Reply

    Sad story, a little too late … times have changed in England, but it’ll always be too late for Justin …

  11. Delle
    November 03, 11:20 Reply

    On a more serious note, that Justin guy was very silly 2 have commited suicide (bless his soul). Why suicide? Is that the solution to your constricted problem? Ahn…what you would have achieved if you were still alive, Justin. What you would have achieved. It pains me though that your silly brother, after 17yrs of your suicide, decides 2 come open with the story. After 17 whole years! When he knows the people that would hear and read would just take it with a pinch of salt, how shabby!
    I wish it was you having this interview, Justin and not John. I wish it was John in that black hole underground now…how many great people we’ve lost to suicide.
    Gays are so widespread and yet no footballer has come out as one, here comes my answer!

    P.S: There are rumours of Didier Drogba as gay though.

    • posh6666
      November 03, 13:26 Reply

      I always get the “macho mary”vibe about Drogba for some reasons i just feel in the bedroom game he likes being taken to sexual fantasy land by a fellow man and will be screaming”yea fuck me harder is that the best u got”.I believe in time to come we are in for loads of suprises and many more athletes and famous super masculine dudes will come outta the closet,thankfully the America has reached that level and it is helping to do away with the stereotype of only feminine guys being gay.I was watching bba with my mum last year and there was a rumour that Frank the dark guy with a really nice ass was gay,even more fueled by our own Tayo and my mum was like ha! he cant be gay now,he is very masculine lol in my mind i was like madam if only you knew how many boys and men i have had sex with in our area some of whom she knows personally and some that are public figures she actually knows too.I am Just here thinking about my life and future in Nigeria 20yrs time from now.

      • Delle
        November 03, 16:32 Reply

        Lmao Posh. U really took it all outta me. The stereotype of only the girly ones, the nerdy ones, the fragile ones being the homosexuals isn’t really something 2 fault them with as I too was once like that.
        Until I went 2 school and saw ‘gyming’ gay men, I used 2 have that mindset also. These people don’t know that these manly ones hide under the charade of their masculinity to fully explore a sexuality that doesn’t go down well with a major faction of their society.
        It’s also pertinent to note that, not all effeminates are gays. But they just don’t get it! Aargh!

        • posh6666
          November 03, 16:53 Reply

          Yea it gets really annoying.In some settings self when such ignorant conversation begins i just want to shout and pull off my invisible hair and begin pointing out and mentioning names like yea that guy is gay,yea the one over there too is,oh yes!ur husband too likes young boys lol.

  12. Ruby
    November 03, 12:13 Reply

    You don’t say Delle!!!!!!
    John Fash-anus….
    Sharrap n Gerrarahia!!!!!!

    • Delle
      November 03, 14:02 Reply

      Oh I say Ruby, I say…

  13. Teflon Don
    November 03, 12:14 Reply

    This is a non story, the story itself doesn’t interest me but My word!! Look at that Large sized piece of human candy called Justin fashanu. I wish I could turn back the hands of time and be cuddled in those broad chest of his. I want that chocolatey all day, yes! I’m not ashamed to admit it.
    I’ve got a thing for this age group 18yrs to 20yrs.. They’ve got my Mumu botton till eternity.

  14. Mike Daemon
    November 03, 15:51 Reply

    All i can say is “Justin Fashanu, is hot to just die!”

    • Diii'Okpara
      November 03, 20:08 Reply

      honestly the Justin dude is 10 times sharper than John imho…

  15. keredim
    November 03, 18:36 Reply

    I don’t think we should be quick to vilify John Fashanu. We must remember the environment in which he and Justin grew up.

    It was tough enough being black in the 70s/80s in Britain, let alone being black and gay. The situation was even worse in football, where black footballers were constantly subjected to verbal racial abuse and having banana peels thrown at them during game play by fans. To add gay to one’s credentials back then might have been altruistic, but as evidenced by Justin’s tragic demise downright fatal!

    Having been left in the UK by their parent(s) with white foster parents, I can only imagine there might have been abandonment issues going on there. They grew in a predominantly white middle class area of Britain and would have been racially abused in school as was the norm back then. Growing up they only had (and looked out for) each other.

    So yes, John (though subsequent events in the late 90s would prove him to be a certified homophobe) sought to protect his brother from pain and anguish the best way he knew how to.

    I am not condoning what John did by offering his Justin money to stay in the closet, but he had to do what he had to do to protect his brother .

    Like he said, it would have affected his (John’s) career as well and have a negative impact on the rest of the family. Justin may or may not have taken that into consideration, but it takes a certain kind of man to take £75,000 from his own brother on the condition of staying in the closet and then renege on the agreement and sell stories to the tabloids.

    • Tiercel de Claron.
      November 03, 22:36 Reply

      Thank you,Kere.
      All them noisemakers on this blog sef.
      Will quite appreciate it if people can at least take five minutes to let what they read sink in,comprehend what they read and the environment/circumstance said event(s) took place in ere they rush to type.
      Too many Pharisees in here,quite sickening.

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