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Requiem for a gay footballer

We’ve been asked to share a new release by the prolific French film composer Jann Halexander (below)


in memory of the English footballer Justin Fashanu, the first in his profession to declare himself gay.

Justin committed suicide in 1998, aged 37. He had been arrested in the state of Maryland and questioned over a charge of sexual assault, which he denied. He fled home to England but, fearing extradition and the poor chance of a black, gay sportsman getting a fair trial in the US, he took his own life, leaving a note that protested his innocence.

This sombre, minimalist piece is a belated cultural tribute to an honest man, a victim of his times.

justin fashanu

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  1. Mary Finnigan says:

    Tragic. May he rest in peace..

  2. Malcolm James says:

    Apparently when he committed suicide the US authorities had dropped the charges, but he hadn’t yet been informed.

    • JIm Read says:

      I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify the circumstances of Justin’s sad suicide. First, he was questioned by police in Maryland but not arrested. He was within his rights to then leave the country. The police were subsequently issued with an arrest warrant. The mistaken belief that the charges were dropped comes from misleading comments by the coroner at his inquest.

      The police later confirmed to a Times’ reporter that they were seeking to charge Justin with various offences relating to sexual assault. It is almost certain that Justin heard that he was still a wanted man hours before he made the decision to take his life.

      They are two versions of what happened between Justin and a young man which led to these charges and we will never know who a jury would have believed.

      Although the way he ended his life casts a shadow over it, I hope Justin will always be remembered for the courage he showed in playing professional football on three continents as an openly gay man, many years before anyone else followed in his footsteps.

      Jim Read, author Justin Fashanu: The Biography

  3. Saartje says:

    Dark. Sad. Strange. Beautiful. For a sad story…

  4. Theodore McGuiver says:

    …made sadder for the fact that his brother (cousin? I can’t remember offhand) is as much a part of the broadcasting establishment as it’s possible to be.

  5. Theodore McGuiver says:

    BY the fact. Sorry.

  6. Beautiful. Thanks for this.

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