Footballer Iker Casillas must prove he was hacked after a ‘joke’ tweet from his account claimed that he was gay, a campaigner has said.
Amal Fashanu, the niece of the late Justin Fashanu, slammed the World Cup-winning former goalkeeper who appeared to come out after tweeting yesterday: “I hope you respect me: I’m gay.”
Initially many believed the tweet to be sincere with people showing support on social media for the Real-Madrid legend.
The tweet also prompted a response from his former teammate Carles Puyol, who appeared to joke, “It’s time to tell our story.”
But the post was suddenly deleted after receiving 250,000 likes.
The 41-year-old later claimed his account had been hacked and apologised for the comment after it sparked a fierce backlash among the LGBTQ+ community.
He tweeted: “Hacked account. Luckily everything in order. Apologies to all my followers. And of course, more apologies to the LGBT community.”
Puyol also deleted his tweet and apologised for his “clumsy joke”.
He said: “I have made a mistake. Sorry for a clumsy joke with no bad intentions and totally out of place.
“I understand that it may have hurt sensitivities. All my respect and support for the LGTBIQA+ community.”
Despite hacking claims, the Spanish newspaper AS reported that posts from the pair could have been a poor joke after Casillas was linked to several different women in the press following his marriage breakdown.
Amal Fashanu, the niece of late football star Justin Fashanu and the daughter of his brother John, has now urged the Spanish footballer to prove his account was hacked.
The campaigner, who set up a foundation in her uncle’s name to tackle discrimination in football, said she was ‘hugely disappointed’ by the actions of the two players.
Justin Fashanu, who played for Norwich City and Notts County among many other big-name clubs, became the first professional footballer to be openly gay.
Justin killed himself aged 37 in 1998, eight years after revealing his sexuality to the world in 1990.
Amal told the Sun: “It’s obviously unclear at this stage what’s happened, and whether Casillas was a victim of a hack or whether this is some kind of weird practical joke.
“If it’s the latter, then it would be hugely disappointing because this issue really isn’t something to joke about for the sake of trying to attract some tweets and attention.
“If Casillas has been hacked, then it’s important the person who did it is found as this would be abhorrent because sexuality is nobody else’s business apart from the individual involved.
“We still see a lot of homophobic abuse online and it has to end.
“As a foundation, we would urge the player to show evidence of the hack.”
Amal, who now supports other professional footballers through her charity work, also slammed Puyol’s response.
She added: “What dismayed me most however was the reaction of his former teammate, Carlos Puyol, who sought to make a weird kind of joke about the whole thing straight away.
“It’s right he said sorry but this really exposes the lack of awareness and understanding which still exists in too many corners of the game.
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