Blackpool’s Jake Daniels has become the first UK footballer to publicly come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.
17 year-old JakeDaniels, who plays up front for Championship club Blackpool, came out through a statement on their website, where he thanked his teammates and noted the inspiration from athletes such as diver Tom Daley.
This season has been a fantastic one for me on the pitch. I’ve made my first-team debut, scored 30 goals for the youth team, signed my first professional contract and shared success with my team-mates, going on a great run in the FA Youth Cup and lifting the Lancashire FA Pro-Youth Cup.
But off the pitch I’ve been hiding the real me and who I really am. I’ve known my whole life that I’m gay, and I now feel that I’m ready to come out and be myself.
It’s a step into the unknown being one of the first footballers in this country to reveal my sexuality, but I’ve been inspired by Josh Cavallo, Matt Morton and athletes from other sports, like Tom Daley, to have the courage and determination to drive change.
In reaching this point, I’ve had some of the best support and advice from my family, my Club, my agent and Stonewall, who have all been incredibly pro-active in putting my interests and welfare first. I have also confided in my team-mates in the youth team here at Blackpool, and they too have embraced the news and supported my decision to open up and tell people.
I’ve hated lying my whole life and feeling the need to change to fit in. I want to be a role model myself by doing this.
There are people out there in the same space as me that may not feel comfortable revealing their sexuality. I just want to tell them that you don’t have to change who you are, or how you should be, just to fit in.
You being you, and being happy, is what matters most.
It goes without saying that it is an extremely brave and admirable move from Jake Daniels, even though in an ideal world such a revelation would not be headline news.
Some Twitter accounts reporting the news have also turned off replies, presumably due to the sadly inevitable homophobic abuse it would attract.
Many on Twitter came out in praise of Daniels, and one of those was Ireland and Arsenal star Katie McCabe. McCabe plays for the Rep. of Ireland senior team alongside her partner Ruesha Littlejohn.
Jake, all the love and respect for the incredible courage you’ve shown the world in simply being who you are! I’ve no doubt this will inspire so many more people🌈 ⚽️ https://t.co/WOyjau5MFO
— Katie McCabe (@Katie_McCabe11) May 16, 2022