England and Barcelona defender Lucy Bronze said there is a need for “more education” after Iker Casillas posted on twitter that he was gay, before deleting the tweet and later saying his account was hacked on Sunday.

Speaking in a news conference ahead of the England game against Czech Republic on Tuesday, Bronze said the reaction on social media shows the need for more education.

“Hacked account,” former Spain and Real Madrid goalkeeper Casillas said. “Luckily everything in order. Apologies to all my followers. And of course, more apologies to the LGBT community.”

Meanwhile, former Barcelona defender Carles Puyol, who replied to Casillas’ now-deleted tweet saying “it’s time to tell them about us”, issued an apology on Twitter saying he “made a mistake” and it was a “stupid joke.”

“Obviously at the beginning no one really knew it was a joke,” Bronze said.

“But I think the reaction that has been had on social media from the beginning of not knowing what it was to then thinking it was a joke, to thinking it was hacked, whatever it was, the reaction just shows that there still needs a lot of education, a lot more openness about these kind of subjects, because that kind of reaction wasn’t normal.”

“It shows that there is still a lot of education and still a lot of conversations to be had to make the world and social media a better place, and people more comfortable to have open conversations when they are real, or when they’re not.”

LGBTQ+ sport groups have condemned Casillas’ tweet, saying it was “dispiriting” and “disappointing.”

Pride in Football criticised the tweet, saying it was “misjudged, ill-timed and disappointing.”

“That tweet, six words, 32 characters, has the chance to do a lot of damage,” Pride in Football said in a statement on Twitter.

“We should not be seeing ‘jokes’ at the expense of others in 2022, or ever, period. The homophobic reaction on the back of that tweet is not OK.

“In November, the World Cup is in a country that persecute people because of their gender identity and sexual orientation. High profile sports stars joking about that exact thing is damaging to people in the community.”

The Sport Media LGBT+ group denounced the incident and called on allies to speak up.

“Today’s [Sunday] Twitter episode involving Iker Casillas and Carles Puyol has been hugely dispiriting for LGBTQ+ people and allies,” Sport Media LGBT+ said on Twitter.

“The flippancy of the tweets and weak backtrack plays into the hands of homophobes.

“We’ve seen in recent months how famous players can be great allies, using the power of their social media platforms to send supportive messages. As the men’s #FIFAWorldCup approaches, football needs voices of inclusion. We urge them to speak up again.”

Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo, who came out last October, also criticised Casillas and Puyol for apparently joking about coming out.

“Joking and making fun out of coming out in football is disappointing,” Cavallo tweeted.

“It’s a difficult journey that any LGBTQ+ people have to go through. To see my role models and legends of the game make fun out of coming out and my community is beyond disrespectful.

Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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