MELBOURNE, (Reuters) – Australia all-rounder James Faulkner caused confusion about his sexuality on social media yesterday after he posted a picture of himself having dinner with “the boyfriend” before Cricket Australia later clarified it was a joke.
Faulkner, who turned 29 on Monday, shared a picture of himself at a restaurant with his mother and a male friend with his 339,000 followers on Instagram and wrote: “Birthday dinner with the boyfriend”.
He also added the hashtag “#togetherfor5years”.
The post drew over 20,000 “likes” and supportive comments from fellow international cricketers.
Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell wrote: “Happy birthday mate! Great courage.”
Former Australia fast bowler Shaun Tait echoed the sentiment, posting: “Great courage mate, bet you feel better happy birthday.”
Global media, including Britain’s Daily Mail and The Guardian, reported that Faulkner had become the first Australian cricketer to “come out”.
Cricket Australia poured cold water on the reports, however, with a spokesman saying Faulkner had made a “joke” that was “taken out of context”.
Faulkner was named man of the match at the World Cup final in Melbourne four years ago but has not played an international since a one-day game away to India in Oct. 2017.