17-year-old Blackpool FC pro footballer has made history today by becoming the first UK professional player to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.
When Adelaide’s Josh Cavello came out last year, some in the industry thought there would be a deluge of players living their truths but it wasn’t to materialise, until now.
17-year-old Blackpool FC footballer Jake Daniels has made history today by becoming the only active male professional footballer in the UK and the first professional player to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.
In an interview with Sky News, Daniels said: “I feel like I am ready to tell people my story. Since I’ve come out to my family, my club and my team-mates, that period of overthinking everything and the stress it created has gone. It was impacting my mental health. Now I am just confident and happy to be myself finally.”
Jake went on: “I have been thinking for a long time about how I want to do it, when I want to do it. I know now is the time. I am ready to be myself, be free and be confident with it all. 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.”
He said that he had confided in the youth players and they had been super supportive: “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.”
We want to applaud Jake for his bravery and hope that other players see the hugely positive reaction works as a barometer for their own stories.