First Openly Gay Footballer Justin Fashanu To Be Inducted Into Hall Of Fame
Football’s first openly gay player Justin Fashanu is to be inducted into Britain’s National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame, years after taking his own life.
Justin Fashanu came out as gay in October 1990 and committed suicide eight years later.
Born to a Nigerian father and Guyanese mother, he and his brother, John, played football in England and were capped internationally.
Fashanu played for clubs such as Norwich City, Nottingham Forest and Notts County. He was also capped by England under-21s. He was also the first black footballer in England to warrant a £1-million transfer fee when signing for Forest in 1981.
Fashanu is expected to be inducted on Wednesday – that would have been Fashanu’s 59th birthday- at a ceremony where his niece, Amal (John Fashanu’s daughter) is expected to receive the award on his behalf.
Amal runs The Justin Fashanu Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness on homophobia and mental health in football and raise the profile of LGBT+ people in all levels of the sport.
Amal told SkySport: “I think he wouldn’t believe it himself. I know he would be extremely honoured, and I know that I am extremely honoured and so is my family.
“I guess for Justin this would be a great moment and I think it’s a pivotal moment when we are finally recognising who Justin Fashanu was, not only as the openly gay footballer but also as a very talented footballer and the first million-pound black player in England.
“I think it has got easier because we have moved on in life and in general. I think everyone, in other industries, we’re very happy to accept is gay or who is whatever they choose to be, but I guess within football, because it is such a close-knit, dark archaic kind of vibe, it’s very difficult.
“I think today, if a footballer came out it would be definitely not even half as bad as Justin coming out, but I think it would still be hard, it would still be a challenge. But what’s harder, to live pretending to be someone else or to be yourself?”