Australian footballer Andy Brennan has weighed in on the conversation surrounding the anonymous @FootballerGay Twitter account, which claimed to be run by a closeted English Championship footballer but has since been deleted.
Brennan, a 26-year-old winger for Victorian Premier League club Green Gully, became the first Australian male footballer to come out as gay earlier this year.
"I hope it isn't a hoax, but even if it is I think you just focus on the positives," Brennan said of the anonymous twitter user in an interview with The Telegraph.
"The positive energy it created with all the supportive reactions from people was more important than anything negative, and that's what you have to focus on - otherwise you let the negativity win."
The former Newcastle Jets player continued, saying that his life has gotten "so much better" since coming out.
"The reaction has been amazing, I haven't had one negative comment," Brennan said of his experience.
Still, the sportsman says he understands the fear that comes with taking that big step while in the public eye.
"That was something I feared a lot with everyone I told, but everyone – teammates, family, friends – has been amazing. I've had no problems with opposition fans either, everyone's been really supportive.
"The way it's affected my life has been only positive, it's been so much better."
He added: "It's all created by the environment you're in. I pushed it away because I didn't think it was normal, and thought people would judge me. And that I wouldn't be able to play football and be friends with the same people. I thought it would change my life completely."
When it comes to dealing with negative comments, Brennan said people are best off rising above the hate and being kind to themselves - describing the fearful inner-world that people can create before coming out to loved ones.
"People throw in derogatory comments about gay people, and you think you can't be yourself around them," he said.
"I've heard mates say things several times, and they would have no idea about how I felt. And even if you don't acknowledge it, it creates this environment in your own mind when you think, 'I can't, I can't, I can't. God knows if I can cope or not.."
Instagram photo credit: Mark Avellino Photography