The 17-year-old Jake Daniels becomes the first British professional footballer to come out revealing his sexuality in 32 years. This is for the first time, that a footballer is revealing that he is gay. The Blackpool forward made the announcement at the end of his first season as a professional player with second-division club Blackpool.
This season has been a fantastic one for me on the pitch,” he said in a statement. I think there is no need to hide personal details off the pitch, so I wanted people to know the real me,” said the footballer at the end of his first season. While many prominent LGBTQ + players are featured in women’s football, men’s professional games do not have openly gay players, and even in locker rooms, there seems to be a hostile attitude. With this announcement, the balance has now been fulfilled.
Earlier, it was Justin Fashanu, the only openly gay man to have played in English soccer’s professional leagues who made the announcement in 1990, but sadly took his own life in 1998 at the age of 37. Jake Daniels said he has been aware of his sexuality since he was six years old, but kept it secret as he pursued his dream of a career in football. “Now is the time to do it. I feel like I am ready to tell people my story,” he said.
Daniels said teammates at Blackpool embraced his sexuality after believing in them. Daniels in his statement claimed that he has got a lot of support from his colleagues at Blackpool which has given him a lot of strength. After the announcement, the English Football Association came forward and said Daniels was an “inspiration” to the sport.
Many campaign groups congratulated Daniels on his historic move, and many said, “We need to remember there is a young man at the heart of it. A young man who should not have to be defined by this one moment, or this one part of his identity.”