Ex-footballer Iker Casillas said his coming out tweet was posted by hackers. (Eduardo Parra/Europa Press via Getty)
Footballer Iker Casillas has clarified that he is not gay, claiming that his “coming out” tweet was posted by hackers.
The retired Spain and Real Madrid goalkeeper immediately made headlines when he tweeted: “I hope you respect me: I’m gay” on Sunday (9 October).
Shortly afterwards, his former teammate Carles Puyol added fuel to the fire when he replied: “It’s time to tell our story, Iker”, alongside a heart emoji.
However, it wasn’t long before both players deleted their tweets, which led many to surmise that their entire exchange was a joke.
Shortly after 3.30pm, Casillas told his followers that his account had been hacked, which led to the bogus “coming out” tweet.
Cuenta hackeada. Por suerte todo en orden. Disculpas a todos mis followers. Y por supuesto, más disculpas a la comunidad LGTB. 🙏
— Iker Casillas (@IkerCasillas) October 9, 2022
“Hacked account. Luckily everything in order,” Casillas tweeted.
“Apologies to all my followers. And of course, more apologies to the LGBT community.”
Iker Casillas faces backlash over fake coming out tweet
Casillas is facing widespread backlash, with many accusing the footballer of posting the tweet himself as a joke.
Sources close to Casillas told Spanish outlet AS that his tweet was posted in response to the media’s intense focus on his love life.
Gay footballer Josh Cavallo was among the first to condemn Casillas and Puyol for their tweets.
@IkerCasillas and @Carles5puyol joking and making fun out of coming out in football is disappointing. It’s a difficult journey that any LGBTQ+ ppl have to go through. To see my role models and legends of the game make fun out of coming out and my community is beyond disrespectful pic.twitter.com/Yp88aQyyTV
— Josh Cavallo (@JoshuaCavallo) October 9, 2022
Pride in Football, a network of LGBTQ+ football fan groups in the UK, said a tweet like the one posted on Casillas’ account “has the chance to do a lot of damage”.
“Misjudged, ill-timed and disappointing,” the group said in a statement.
“We should not be seeing ‘jokes’ at the expense of others in 2022, or ever, period.
“The homophobic reaction on the back of that tweet is not OK.
“It also isn’t OK that we have to react to that tweet. It’s a clear example of someone not thinking before speaking, did he expect all roses and no reaction?”
Pride in Football continued: “That tweet, six words, 32 characters, has the chance to do a lot of damage.
“Damage to the LGBT+ community, and future damage to the culture that is making it difficult in the men’s game for people to be open about their sexual orientation.
“In recent months, we have seen three male professional players share who they are with us all, let’s hope the consequences of this tweet don’t make other male professional footballers think they can’t share who they are.”
Others hit out at the footballers for “slowing” progress for LGBTQ+ people in sport.
Iker Casillas and Carles Puyol’s tweets were pathetic and all they’ve achieved is to embolden the homophobic attitudes that are already rife within football and within football fandom. Slow progress is being made, things like this simply make it even slower.
— Jonny Sharples (@JonnyGabriel) October 9, 2022
– Until 2022 only 1 footballer had come out in pro English football, he killed himself due to homophobia
– 100s/1000s of pro footballers feel unable to be themselves for fear of hate
– Kids turn away from sport because they feel unwelcome
Coming out is no joke, Iker Casillas.
— Jack Duncan 🏳️🌈 (@JackDunc1) October 9, 2022
Iker Casillas has deleted his tweet, seems incredibly unlikely it was a sincere message. He has a lot of explaining to do. As do all the homophobes who outed themselves in reaction.
— Sam Homewood (@SamHomewood) October 9, 2022
If Iker Casillas and Carlos Puyol have come out for a joke/stunt in a backlash against Spanish media then they’ve made a mockery of what is often one of the most difficult moment in any LGBTQ+ person’s life. They’ve simply placed a spotlight on rampant homophobia as a cruel joke.
— mattspivey (@mattlspivey) October 9, 2022
Iker Casillas is a moron for tweeting that as a joke, but looking at the response to everything that was posted makes me feel for the footballers who are currently having to hide who they are out of fear of backlash.
— Alex Elmslie (@ImAllexx) October 9, 2022
There will be hundreds, thousands of footballers out there still terrified to come out as gay to the world. Iker Casillas and Carles Puyol have just made it even more difficult with an embarrassing and shameful “joke” for the sake of what?
— Mark Hendry (@mhendry92) October 9, 2022
Casillas initially won praise from LGBTQ+ football fans when he posted his tweet, with many assuming his “coming out” was legitimate.
However, many were disappointed to see that many replied to his initial tweet with homophobic messages.
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