- An anonymous gay soccer player opened a Twitter account with the handle @FootballerGay this month.
- He quickly built an audience of almost 50,000 followers before saying he’d announce his identity at a media event on Wednesday, July 24.
- But on the morning of the anticipated reveal, he tweeted: “I thought I was stronger, I was wrong.”
- He then deleted his profile.
- One prominent soccer website has pondered whether the whole thing was a hoax.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
An anonymous gay soccer player deleted his Twitter account after saying he’s “not strong enough to come out,” the BBC reported.
The person behind the account built a Twitter audience of almost 50,000 followers and said he would go public with his sexuality on Wednesday, July 24.
But on the morning of the anticipated reveal, he tweeted: “I thought I was stronger, I was wrong,” before removing his profile entirely.
When the person set up the social media handle @FootballerGay in July, he followed prominent LGBTQ+ organisations, tweeted that he was a “professional footballer playing for a club in the [English] Championship” and would be revealing his identity soon, the BBC said.
He also reportedly tweeted that he is “a proud gay man … under the age of 23” and will soon “come out publicly.”
@FootballerGay sent direct messages to the BBC and said he had received “positive messages” but had also been sent “death threats and vile abuse.”
He said: “Whilst I know several others within the game who are gay/bi they are too scared to be open about it, some of them go as far as employing girlfriends to keep it secret. I don’t want to do that.
“I want to be able to go anywhere, with anyone, without the fear of being outed by the rag tops [newspapers] or someone with a camera phone. I truly believe that I need this to be in the open, which will hopefully make it easier for others to do the same.”
A press conference was apparently arranged for this week to announce the identity of the gay soccer player. But he then said he could not go through with the media event.
“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.”
A Football 365 article pondered whether the account was real or a hoax, but one of the Twitter user’s last posts said “this isn’t a hoax,” adding: “Just remember that I’ve got feelings.”
There has been only one male British player to come out as gay while competing in professional soccer in the UK. Justin Fashanu came out as gay in 1990, killing himself eight years later.