Justin and John Fashanu were birth brothers. Their Guyanese-British mother and Nigerian father separated when they were toddlers, with their father returning to Nigeria. Unable to cope on her own, their mother placed them in a children's home where they stayed until they were five and six years old, when they were placed with a white family, the Jacksons, who already had adult born-to children. Sources differ as to whether the boys were fostered or formally adopted by the Jacksons. Both boys started out as boxers but switched to football [soccer].
Justin was the first openly gay professional football player in the UK (he came out in 1990). In his career he played or coached for at least 16 teams in England, Scotland, New Zealand, the USA and Canada, including Norwich, Nottingham Forest, Notts County, Brighton, Hove Albion, Leyton Orient, Torquay United, Heart of Midlothian and Atlanta Ruckus. His move to Nottingham Forest was the first time a Black player had commanded a transfer fee of £1,000,000. He was a trustee of the AIDS charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust. His personal life led to a rift between him and his younger brother, however, and to police involvement. On 1 May 1998 he hung himself in London.
John played for Wimbledon, Millwall and Lincoln until he retired due to injuries. He presented the Gladiators show on British television for several years. He, too, has been in trouble with the police, on game-fixing charges, of which he was acquitted. He has also been a sporting ambassador for Nigeria.
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