Published: 20:10, 07 August 2021
| Updated: 20:41, 07 August 2021
A footballer who recently came out as bisexual says he suffered homophobic abuse during a match today.
Sheppey United defender Jahmal Howlett-Mundle said a "narrow-minded" Tower Hamlets FC player called him a “gay p*ssy” during the FA Cup fixture.
Sheppey United's Jahmal Howlett-Mundle telling his teammates he is bisexual
Tweeting about the incident, he added: "Comments such as those will not get under my skin or throw me off my game, and I do understand that unfortunately it will happen again."
Tower Hamlets FC have since responded to the accusations.
They tweeted in reply to Jahmal this evening: "This has just come to our attention, please can you give us the number of the players shirt so we can investigate and take matters into our hands.
"As a club we want you to feel we do not tolerate this type of action and will take this very seriously. Please personally message us."
Jahmal said he was "so glad" his Sheppey teammates and coaching staff supported him during and after the game, which they won 4-1.
He says he hopes FA bosses and the Southern Counties East Football League will follow up on the incident "in the hope that it will help to eradicate homophobia within football".
Jahmal took the decision on Tuesday to reveal to his teammates he was coming out as bisexual.
The 24-year-old said: "I’m not the type of person to reveal large parts of my personal life and usually keep myself to myself.
"I certainly felt it was the right time to be honest with myself and my loved ones and by being open about my sexuality, maybe it will give others the confidence to follow suit.
"Football still has room for improvement in terms of players coming out and being themselves, but with the likes of Thomas Hitzlsperger and Thomas Beattie having done so, it’s slowly starting to evolve.
"We have seen other sports people like Gareth Thomas and Tom Daley come out years ago and they are great role models for people like me."
He added: "I believe I’ll be a better version of the Jahmal you already know.
"Whatever anyone’s sexuality, you should not be treated any differently – I’m just as hungry as any other player to step onto the football pitch and give my all to win for our team and our supporters.
"I always wished I had somebody that looked like me, that grew up where I grew up and played football to look up to when I was younger."
Jahmal said he was thankful to all at Sheppey United for the support he had since received.
"I’m overwhelmed by the support I’ve received by my teammates and the staff here at Sheppey United since I told them the news," he said. "The club have been great in supporting me and I look forward to having a great season with them as we look to start our promotion push at the weekend.”
Marcel Nimani, Sheppey United's assistant manager, praised Jahmal's bravery.
He said: “Jahmal is a great footballer and leader for us on the pitch and an inspirational influencer off the field.
"In the 21st century, sexual orientation of a person is a normal existence in our society, but unfortunately in football it’s not quite the case.
"Bravery acts like Jahmal’s play a massive part in normalising members of the LGBTQIA+ community within football. I believe these acts go a long way in supporting many struggling sports people.
“I thank Jahmal for the trust that he has put into our club and we as a club are fully supportive of Jahmal in what is an emotional time for him.”