Anti-homophobia bodies are speaking out after John Fashanu controversially claimed he does not believe his brother was homosexual.
In an interview with talkSPORT which aired on Saturday, Fashanu alleged his brother, former Manchester City player Justin Fashanu, was seeking publicity when he came out publicly in 1991.
Fashanu said: ““If you had a brother who came out and said, ‘Hey listen, I’m gay’, we’d welcome you, say ‘No problem’. But if you had someone who came out and said, ‘I’m a spaceman’ when you’re not a spaceman then that’s a bit silly.”
His comments come six weeks after his daughter presented a BBC3 documentary regarding the barriers homosexuality in football faces and her uncle Justin's plight.
February also saw The Justin Campaign’s international homophobia awareness week take centre stage during LGBT Awareness month.
Alan Duffy, Justin Campaign spokesman, said: “We do not know why John has decided to make these statements now, particularly coming not long after the airing of BBC3’s documentary.”
Mr Duffy added: “The programme, which also featured John, received a huge amount of positive feedback and goodwill.”
Fashanu's comments were also questioned by the Gay Football Supporters' Network Chairman Chris Basiurski.
Mr Basiurski recently met David Cameron to discuss tackling homophobia in football and accepting homosexuality both in the locker rooms and terraces.
He said: “We're really disappointed to hear these comments from John Fashanu.
“While we don't want to interfere in what is a personal family matter, we do see a real need for people who are going through the sort of loneliness and isolation that Justin Fashanu may have felt to receive the necessary support.”
The twice capped forward added: “It wasn’t the fact of him being gay, or whether he’s white or whether he’s black. That was never a concern to me whatsoever.
"What was a concern to me was somebody going and screaming on the rooftops ‘I’m black’ or ‘I’m heterosexual’ or ‘I’m gay’ to get publicity or money. Making up stories to get attention.”
On the topic of his public criticism of his brother and Justin’s suicide, John said: “Some people might say it’s selfish, my daughter said to me, ‘You’re my Daddy, I love you, but you were selfish, you disowned your brother.’ I said, ‘I didn’t disown my brother’.”
He conceded: “I might have been able to reach out with an olive branch instead of reaching out with a cane.”
Fashanu's interview is available online at http://www.talksport.co.uk/radio/sporting-life/blog/2012-03-19/my-sporting-life-john-fashanu