It is a coming out that has not gone unnoticed in the British and international press. On Monday, May 16, Jake Daniels, a young 17-year-old professional football player, decided to break open his homosexuality. in a press release† A first since Justin Fashanu came out 32 years earlier.
In a particularly macho environment it is not easy to live out your homosexuality in broad daylight. As a result, there is a taboo on the professional sports sector, and football in particular. But is the trend slowly changing? After Australian player Josh Cavallo’s coming out last year, it is now the turn of Blackpool club’s second-division Blackpool midfielder Jake Daniels to reveal his homosexuality.
This season has been fantastic for me on the pitch. I played my first professional game, scored 30 goals for the reserve team, signed my first professional contract and shared the success with my teammates.
But off the pitch, I hid my real me and who I really am. I’ve known I was gay all my life, and now I feel like I’m ready to come out and be myself.
A brave revelation when you consider that homophobic insults continue to rain down in stadiums today. However, admitting that it is “a step into the unknown” to come out as one of the first professional players, the young midfielder remains confident. Interviewed by air sports he says :
“The way I see it, I play football and (spectators) can yell things at me, but they pay to watch me play and that’s how I earn my living. So they yell what they want, it doesn’t change anything.”
Blackpool’s Jake Daniels says he is the first male professional footballer in the UK to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 16, 2022
become a model
This public coming-out that everyone is already talking about has sparked a lot of reactions in the football world and elsewhere. The young player has received many messages of support, including those from the English Football Association:
“Football is a sport for everyone, with diversity at its core, and this is a huge step in the right direction as we try to create a truly inclusive sport that we will all be proud of. †
For his part, Jake Daniels hopes that his gesture will make a difference and inspire other players to take responsibility for themselves and other gay people to come out in environments other than professional sport.
I hated lying all my life and felt the need to change in order to fit in. By doing this I want to be a role model myself.
There are people in the same situation as me who 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.
Being yourself and being happy is the most important.
What if a new, more inclusive era were to dawn in professional sports?