Basketball player Angel McCoughtry stated that she received threats from her club Fenerbahçe due to her sexual orientation. McCoughtry recounted her experience for kaosGL.org.
Source: Ömer Akpınar. “Fenerbahçe beni yalan söylemeye zorladı” (“Lesbian basketball player: Fenerbahçe forced me to lie”), kaosGL.org, 1 April 2015, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=19092
A former player for the Fenerbahçe women’s basketball team, Angel McCoughtry, stated that her club threatened to fire her unless she denied that she was in a relationship with her girlfriend.
Olympic gold medalist McCoughtry described how she was subjected to homophobia at Fenerbahçe during the time she played for the club between the years 2010-2015.
“İsfendiyar Zülfikari called me an ‘idiot’”
The American athlete explained that her problems at Fenerbahçe began in November 2014 upon publication of a story in Hürriyet Daily. The story included an announcement of McCoughtry’s engagement to her girlfriend Brande Elise. According to McCoughtry, Fenerbahçe employed this piece of news against her.
“They told me that they would terminate my contract at the club unless I declared that Brande was not my girlfriend and that I would sue Hürriyet. [Women’s Basketball Branch Deputy Chair] İsfendiyar Zülfikari called me an ‘idiot.’ I wrote that stupid letter because I was concerned about keeping my job. Afterwards, however, I resented having to write it.”
“I have all the proof”
McCoughtry maintains that she should not have been put in the position of having to lie about her private life and that she was dishonest with Fenerbahçe fans:
“At some point they stopped sending my paychecks. I knew I had to leave. Brande and I both felt very upset. They also replaced me in the team without any prior notification and lied to the press claiming that I had left Fenerbahçe. They upset all the fans until I came forth to explain what really happened. I have all the proof that shows what they did to me.”
“The president wanted me to leave because my name was in the papers”
McCoughtry explained that she did not at all experience problems with her teammates and that she was very sad not to have received any support from the administration:
“The team was always so great. It was the president who asked me to leave only because my name was in the papers! I’m sad because they never offered me any support. They didn’t even stand by my side after that news story was published in the papers. They left me alone with a huge lie. Then, when they stopped paying me I told them I would no longer play for them because they were never fair to me. They kicked me out and lied about it by saying that I had quit the team. I, on the other hand, had been breaking my neck over this team for five years.
“I will sue Fenerbahçe”
McCoughtry stated that she would sue Fenerbahçe adding that the club should take care to respect the private lives of their players:
“They should have more respect for their players and they should stop prying into people’s private lives.”
“I will sue because I am left in a position where I am unemployed due to their attitude. After they practically fired me by stopping my paychecks, I ceased my contract. I want to distance myself from this attitude of theirs and I will sue so that everyone can find out the truth.”
A support message from Kaos GL to McCoughtry
After the basketball player shared her statement on Instagram, Kaos GL offered a message of support saying, “Fenerbahçe should apologize, love from Kaos GL” which was appreciated by McCoughtry who wrote:
“Thank you! I was so upset because of everything they had me go through. I’m so happy to hear we have support.”
McCoughtry on Instagram: “Yes we been discriminated against! We lost friends ! Family members are upset! They said i disgraced my religion! One thing i do know is that LOVE is a great feeling! My last overseas team threatened my job if i didnt write a fake letter on social media saying my relationship was a lie. But all i know,Love is a great feeling! I understand we all judge and its in human nature , but the more i speak to God i never feel judgement from the man upstairs even tho he has all power too! He tells me to fall, learn,and grow because thats life. But to always keep my heart pure and believe totally in him. All i know love is a great feeling and GOD is Love”