An alleged UK championship footballer is no longer going to come out as he promised. Despite this, he denies his public declaration is a hoax.
The anonymous athlete has taken the internet by storm over the past month. He established a mysterious Twitter account, simply known as The Gay Footballer, and amassed tens of thousands of followers.
A month ago, he tweeted his intention to come out and more recently, set his coming out date as tomorrow, 24 July.
Things changed suddenly this morning (23 July) when the account — briefly — sent out two tweets. Since then, the entire account has been deleted.
What did the footballer say?
As of this morning, only two tweets appeared on The Gay Footballer’s account.
In the first tweet, the alleged athlete simply wrote: ‘I thought I was stronger. I was wrong.’
He added a similar sentiment to the Twitter bio (‘I thought I was strong enough. I’m not.’) before deleting the profile entirely.
In the second and final tweet, the footballer denied accusations the entire situation was a hoax.
‘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,’ he wrote. ‘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.’
A ‘bold move if he goes ahead with it’
Had this alleged footballer come out, he would have been the first professional football star to be openly queer since Justin Fashanu more than 29 years ago.
‘I appreciate that my ways are unorthodox,’ the mysterious figure said before it all disappeared. ‘But I have to do this my way, and in my own time.’
He added that he had spoken with his club and wanted this public declaration to be ‘the catalyst for change’.
A spokesperson for Altrincham FC, a semi-professional club based in Altrincham, northwest England, supported the move.
‘Good for him,’ the spokesperson told Gay Star News. ‘It’s a bold move if he goes ahead with it.’
Though this coming out story isn’t happening right now, there are still efforts to dismantle anti-LGBTI attitudes in professional sports, including football. Altrincham FC, for example, tackled homophobia by donning Pride-flag patterned kits earlier this year.