Blackpool FC’s Jake Daniels has come out as gay in a televised interview today, so becoming the UK’s only active openly gay professional player. Jake joined the Blackpool Football Academy at the age of 7,
Speaking in an interview with Sky News, the teenage forward said: ‘I just processed and processed every day about how I want to do it, when I want to do it and I feel like now is just the right time to do it – you know I feel like I’m ready to tell people about my story. I want people to know the real me and lying all the time just isn’t what I wanted to do. ‘It has been a struggle but now I do feel I am ready to be myself and be free and just be confident with it all.’
17-year-old Jake added, ‘I told my mum and my sister the day after we played Accrington and I scored four, so it just shows how much of a weight off the shoulders it was and a massive relief.’
The last British pro to come out was Justin Fashanu in 1990, before he tragically took his own life eight years later, aged 37.
According to the MailOnLine the only current gay player in the world is Joshua Cavallo who plays in Australia.
You can see Jake’s full interview from Sky Sports here: https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11095/12614531/jake-daniels-blackpool-forward-becomes-uks-first-active-male-professional-footballer-to-come-out-publicly-as-gay
Here is a letter from Jake as posted on Blackpool FC’s Website:
‘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.