UK professional footballer Jake Daniels shares that he is gay

Jake Daniels

Jake Daniels, who plays for British football club Blackpool, has shared that he is gay. He’s the first active professional footballer in the UK to come out in over three decades.

The sport has long been criticised for not being a space where players could feel comfortable sharing that they were same-sex attracted, and despite significant efforts to fight homophobia in the sport the lack of openly gay players has remained.

In a statement released by his club ahead of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia, the 17-year-old player shared that he is gay.

“I’ve known my whole life that I’m gay, and I now feel that I’m ready to come out and be myself.” Daniels said in his statement.

“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,” Jake Daniels said. “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.”

Daniels signed with the second-tier club in February and played in the team’s final game of the season, having previously played in their youth team.

“Blackpool Football Club has worked closely with Stonewall and the relevant footballing organisations to support Jake and is incredibly proud that he has reached a stage where he is empowered to express himself both on-and-off the pitch,” the club said in a statement.

“We are proud that Jake has felt able to share his truth with the world,” Stonewall said of the news. “To come out publicly as the first openly gay player in men’s professional football in the UK in the last 30 years takes courage. We’re honoured to be supporting him!”

Previously there has only ever been one professional British footballer to declare they are same-sex attracted.  Justin Fashanu made headlines in 1990 when he announced that he was gay.

The player faced taunts from crowds after he came out. He committed suicide in 1998 following allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct.

OIP Staff

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