Blackpool’s Jake Daniels revealed on Monday that he is gay. The 17-year-old attacker is only the first British professional footballer since Justin Fashanu in 1990 to openly admit his homosexuality.
“This season has been fantastic for me,” Daniels begins his story on the site from his club. “I made my debut in the first team, scored thirty goals for the youth team and signed my first professional contract.”
“But off the pitch, I’ve been hiding who I really am. All my life I’ve known I’m gay. I think it’s time to come out publicly.”
There is still a taboo against homosexuality in professional football, as a result of which hardly any footballers at the highest or second highest level are openly gay. In October last year, Australian professional football player Joshua Cavallo came out and in the MLS, the highest level in the United States, Minnesota United player Collin Martin announced a few years ago that he was gay. Robbie Rogers announced that he was into men in 2013 and played for LA Galaxy for years later.
In the summer of last year, an anonymous Eredivisie player told in a podcast of the NOs not wanting to come out because he’s afraid it could hurt his career. John de Bever, now mainly known as a singer, made it known during his professional (indoor) football career that he was gay.
Fashanu became the first British professional footballer to come out in 1990. He took his own life in 1998.
‘Everyone reacted positively’
Daniels emphasizes that he has a lot of support from people within the club, family and friends. “And I have already told the news to my teammates. Everyone reacted positively.”
“I’m tired of lying all my life and always doing my best to fit into the familiar picture. Hopefully I can be a role model in this way too.”
Blackpool said in a statement that it was “incredibly proud” of Daniels. “It is vital for us as a club that we create an environment in which everyone can be themselves. Let football take the lead to combat discrimination and other prejudices in this area.”