If you’ve followed the story, you probably won’t be surprised here to know that the anonymous Twitter account claiming to be a closeted professional British footballer has deleted his account.
Earlier today, the account tweeted out a message saying, “I thought I was stronger. I was wrong,” according to The Guardian.
A second message then quickly followed, before the account was deleted, saying:
“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. 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.”’
The account first began tweeting on July 5th that it was being run by a champion footballer who was slowly coming out of the closet.
As he tweeted:
“I’m a professional footballer, playing for a club in the @SkyBetChamp. I will be revealing my identity soon, but I am a proud gay man, hoping to break the mould. I am under the age of 23, and today I came out to my family. Soon, I will come out publicly. … Today I came out to my family. I have hid my sexuality for far too long. My family responded amazingly well, and other than a few close friends, they were the first to know.”
The athlete then said for weeks that he would be coming out “soon.” He also reported on coming out to his family, coming out to his manager, and coming out to his club’s chair.
“This afternoon I requested a meeting with both my manager and the club chairman. At this meeting I revealed to both gentlemen that I am a homosexual man, I explained that I had only yesterday come out to my family. I sought advice from both men regarding the fact that I not only want to, but will, come out publicly as a proud, confident gay professional footballer. As it currently stands, once I have taken the time to give full consideration to how and when I am to make it public, a press conference will be organised by the club, with invitations to be made in due course to both local and national press.”
The account then announced that the athlete would be coming out today, July 24, prior to the start of the upcoming season in August. Unfortunately, he now says he can’t do it.
Of course, there is still major skepticism on whether or not this was all a prank or joke. After all, we only have the word of an anonymous, and now deleted, Twitter account. That said, the account kept insisting that this entire thing wasn’t a hoax both at the beginning and at the end of the entire ordeal.
“A huge % of the interactions I’ve had have been positive,” wrote the anonymous Twitter user. “I completely understand the skepticism, but once I’ve gone public, hopefully those sceptics will at least be respectful. Tweets like this however are why this situation has to be handled carefully, for myself and my club.”
But despite his words, we ultimately have nothing to show for a month of watching and waiting. And why did we care? Why did many publications cover the story of a random Twitter account professing it was a professional player in the closet? Because, there are very few openly gay athletes, and the football/soccer world is especially toxic towards the idea of coming out.
There are currently no openly gay Premier League soccer players. In fact, then there are only a few openly gay players in the sport such as U.S. midfielder for Minnesota United named Collin Martin, athletes who participate in the Gay Games, and South African goalie Phuti Lekoloane who says,”Being Openly Gay Held My Career Back.” Several other players, especially those in European countries or Africa, have also stated how hard it is to be out or to even be closeted in the sport.
With such an ordeal surrounding the subject of being gay in soccer/football, the idea of an athlete attempting to come out is big news. Even if its coming from a suspicious place.
But was it all a hoax? Or, just a scared man worried about losing his career and passion? We will never know unless the British athlete decides to come out at a later notice (or, we can make assumptions if he never comes out at all).