Lucy Bronze believes the reaction to the tweet from Iker Casillas’ official account saying “I hope you respect me – I’m gay” shows more education is needed on the subject.
The former Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper apologised to the LGBT community, claiming his account had been hacked, but the message on Sunday gained traction on social media and had over 100,000 likes when it was deleted.
Among the thousands of replies was one from the verified account of Casillas’ former Spain team-mate and ex-Barcelona defender Carles Puyol, which read: “It’s time to tell our story, Iker.”
Iker Casillas said his Twitter account had been hacked (Joe Giddens/PA)
Puyol also subsequently apologised, saying it was a “clumsy joke”, but the pair of tweets have been criticised and Bronze also believes some of the reaction to the messages was “not normal”.
Compared to men’s football, there are a number of openly gay players in the women’s game, and Bronze wants social media to be more welcoming to conversations on the topic.
“Obviously at the beginning no one really knew it was a joke,” the England international said.
“Because the reaction wasn’t normal, whether it was from social media, from fans, from people who were commenting – whether it was a joke or not, I don’t know Casillas so I don’t know.
“I don’t know the ins and outs but I think it shows that there’s still a lot of education and still a lot of conversations that need to be had to make the world and social media world a better place and more comfortable to have open conversations when they are real and when they’re not.”
Bronze, who signed for Barcelona in June, is on the brink of her 100th England cap and could bring up the milestone on Tuesday when the European champions host Czech Republic in Brighton.
It is an achievement the former Manchester City, Lyon and Liverpool defender never thought she would reach due to injury.
“I was told at 20 years old that I wouldn’t play past 27, and I’m 30 so I’m not doing too bad,” she said.
Lucy Bronze (right) is set to make her 100th appearance for England (Nigel French/PA)
“I think that’s why I never set 100 caps as a goal for England, I just wanted to play as much as possible. But yeah I guess I’ve just had to work hard on being focused, doing everything right and just hope for the best, and obviously I’ve had a pretty successful career doing the things that I’ve done and my knee injuries haven’t held me back too much.
“I guess it’s just part and parcel of the game, injuries. It happens to all the best players and all the players that play.
“It happened to England – you get struck down with injuries, it’s just part and parcel of it and how you overcome it and how you use it as motivation I suppose.”