Aussie cricketer James Faulkner has sparked a social media furor over his “misinterpreted” social media post about being in a gay relationship.
On Monday night, Faulkner posted an image on Twitter, which seemingly revealed he had been in a “five-year relationship” with his “boyfriend”. He later added “best mates” in brackets to the same photo he uploaded on Instagram.
Faulkner’s post was picked up by media sites around the world who celebrated the announcement of Australia’s first professional male gay cricketer.
However, Cricket Australia later clarified the post had been “misinterpreted”, confirming the man pictured with Faulkner was his business partner.
Social media users were up in arms over the post, saying the joke was in poor taste, especially considering the wider positive impact such an announcement would have had in the sporting industry and beyond.
seeing a lot of straight men saying people need to 'calm down' about james faulkner 'joking' about being gay. it's almost like they don't have the life experiences to understand why it's upset LGBTIQ+ people?
— chloe sargeant (@chlosarge) April 29, 2019
also, i think a lot of people may mistake people's reactions to this story as offended when most of us are prob just disappointed. out queer men are still so rare in sport, why WOULDN'T we rush to champion the very few who would come out?
— mat whitehead (@matwhi) April 29, 2019
James Faulkner isn’t gay but apparently thought being gay is hilarious. I’m leaving these tweets here because hopefully someone in the closet knows that there are more people willing to accept them than there are people willing to mock them. https://t.co/Q6XCu7ymV4
— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottliebFOX) April 29, 2019
Faulkner later uploaded another post on Instagram, confirming Cricket Australia’s clarification of the post, writing: “I am not gay, however, it has been fantastic to see support from and for the LGBT community”.
View this post on Instagram
There seems to be a misunderstanding about my post from last night, I am not gay, however it has been fantastic to see the support from and for the LBGT community. Let’s never forget love is love, however @robjubbsta is just a great friend. Last night marked five years of being house mates! Good on everyone for being so supportive.
Faulkner is not the first Australian sporting star to come under fire for trivialising gay relationships.
Wallabies player Israel Folau experienced severe social media backlash following a homophobic social media post he uploaded to Instagram and is currently fighting for his $4 million deal after Rugby Australia issued a termination notice following the post.