Cricket all-rounder James Faulkner has been forced to clarify that he is not gay after he ‘came out’ in an Instagram post yesterday.
Faulkner posted a photo of himself with his mother and his friend Rob Jubb, captioned “Birthday dinner with the boyfriend @robjubbsta and my mother @roslyn_carol_faulkner #togetherfor5years.”
News outlets internationally reported that Faulkner had come out.
Cricket Australia has been forced to clarify to the media that Faulkner is not gay, calling the incident a “joke that has been taken out of context”, according to Fox Sports.
The Instagram caption has now been edited to refer to Jubb as “boyfriend (best mate!!!)”.
Since the clarification, social media users have criticised Faulkner for what many see as a cheap gay joke.
“Joking about being in a gay relationship is adding to the homophobic culture in Australian sport. Grow the fuck up,” wrote one person on Instagram.
“Please don’t make us the butt of your jokes. Queer relationships are valid. You have a platform to help struggling kids and yet you just laugh in our faces. Not cool dude,” commented another.
Twitter has also blown up with comments, some defending Faulkner and others slamming the joke.
“Actual gay athletes will now be less likely to come out,” wrote one person.
“Not sure James Faulkner should be criticised for showing personality on social media,” tweeted another.
Faulkner has since made another Instagram post, writing, “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.”
There are currently no openly gay men in Australian cricket or other elite sporting organisations, making Faulkner’s apparent coming out significant news.
Equality Tasmania spokesperson Rodney Croome said the overwhelmingly positive response before the joke was revealed showed that progress is being made toward better LGBTI acceptance in sport.
“Coming out is a difficult time for LGBTI people so role models like elite sportspeople should be careful not to be seen to make fun of it,” Croome said.
“I welcome the fact James Faulkner has clarified this was not his intention and that he supports the LGBTI community.
“The overwhelmingly positive response to James Faulkner’s ‘coming out’ sends a message to senior players who are actually gay that Australian cricket is well and truly ready for them to be open about who they are.”
This James Faulkner story is going to be a wild ride in 3… 2… 1…
— Adam Liaw (@adamliaw) April 29, 2019
Faulkner’s gay story is a ‘hoax’. What an arsehole! That he, and the cricketers who chimed in, thought coming out of the closet was something to be mocked proves once again that homosexuality isn’t truly accepted in Aus. Actual gay athletes will now be less likely to come out.
— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottliebFOX) April 29, 2019
we all love james faulkner, the gay cricketer who’s a role model for queer youth *literally five seconds later* we regret to inform you the cricketer is [bro voice] no homo
— casey briggs (@CaseyBriggs) April 29, 2019
Not sure James Faulkner should be criticised for showing personality on social media.
Very sure a few journalists should be criticised for running with stories without verifying them.
— Ben McKay (@benmackey) April 29, 2019
As for his teammates some of them liking James Faulkner post knowing it's a joke…shows that the immature locker room culture still does exist when it comes to joking about someone being 'gay' and running with it. It's not outrage, it's just disappointing
— Luke Dennehy (@LukeDennehy) April 29, 2019