Jake Daniels first active English pro player to come out

Jake Daniels, a 17-year-old midfielder playing for Blackpool FC (Championship), announced on Monday on Sky News television that he was gay. He is the first active English pro player to publicly claim his homosexuality.

In a statement posted on his club’s website, he said: “This season has been fantastic for me on the pitch. I played my first pro match, scored 30 goals with the reserves, signed my first pro contract” before qualifying: “But off the pitch, I hid who I really am. I have known all my life that I was gay and I feel that I am now ready to come out and be myself”.

The previous drama Fashanu

In the 1990s, Justin Fashanu was the first openly gay English professional player, but he was playing at amateur level when he gave his explosive interview to the tabloid The Sun. Victim of insults and homophobic behavior following his coming out, the former Norwich and Nottingham Forest striker committed suicide eight years later.

Jake Daniels’ announcement was met with an outpouring of messages of sympathy from across English football. “You are an inspiration to us all, Jake”, wrote the Leicester club on its Twitter account. For its part, the English Football Association (FA) said: “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.”

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