Skeptics were right. The anonymous Twitter account claiming to be a closeted professional British footballer who for a month detailed his plans to come out as gay got cold feet and deleted the entire account, which had amassed more than 50,000 followers, on Tuesday.
Before doing so, he tweeted out two messages, the Guardian reports: ‘“I thought I was stronger. I was wrong,” read the first, quickly followed by a more detailed explanation before the account was deleted. “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 “gay footballer” had said he planned to come out today, July 24. Last week, he said he planned to come out of the closet as soon as possible, prior to the start of the upcoming season in August.
The anonymous Twitter account began tweeting on July 5 that he was preparing to come out of the closet as gay. If true, the player would be the first out gay football player in England.
Tweeted the account: “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 alleged player said he was meeting with his manager and captain to come out of the closet.
Twitter users naturally expressed skepticism over the legitimacy of the claims. But the user continued to tweet: “A huge % of the interactions I’ve had have been positive. I completely understand the scepticism, 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.”
The “Gay Footballer” said that he had come out to his manager and chairman in a later tweet, and then teased another meeting on July 14 to discuss “next steps.”
Tweeted the “footballer:” “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.”
There are currently no openly gay Premier League footballers. That looks likely to remain that way for a while. In the U.S., Collin Martin, a midfielder for Minnesota United, came out as gay in June 2018, making him the only openly gay professional athlete active in any of the five major sports leagues: MLS, NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB.