Former Premier League footballer John Fashanu has said he paid his brother Justin £75,000 to ‘stop him coming out.’
Justin – the first and only openly gay British footballer – committed suicide in 1998.
The former Wimbledon striker said he tried to buy his older brother’s silence after he told him of his plans to go public with his sexuality.
‘I begged him, I threatened him, I did everything I could possibly do to try and stop him coming out,’ he told The Daily Mirror.
‘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.’
John said claimed their mother died due to the stress caused by his brother’s revelation, and that he had never previously spoken about these things before because he was branded a homophobe.
‘But things have changed and I make it very clear: I was wrong. It was ignorance on my behalf,’ he said.
‘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.’
Justin, who played for Norwich and Nottingham Forest, came out in a 1990 newspaper interview, in which he claimed to have had an affair with a married Conservative MP he met at a London gay bar.
In 1998, he was accused of sexual assault by a 17-year-old boy in the US state of Maryland – where gay sex was still a crime – and committed suicide, fearing he would not get a fair trial because of his sexual orientation.