Jake Daniels, a 17-year-old midfielder who plays for Blackpool in the English 2nd division, became the first active professional footballer to come out publicly on Monday.after communicating it in a letter.
‘I’ve hated lying all my life’
“This season has been fantastic for me on the pitch. I played my first game as a professional, I have scored 30 goals with the reserve team, I have signed my first professional contract,” explains the player on the club’s website.
“But off the pitch I have hidden who I really am. I’ve known all along that I was gay and I feel like right now I’m ready to come out and be myself.”he continued.
“I’ve hated lying my whole life and felt the need to change to fit in. I want to be a role model by doing this.”
(Also read: Video: Klopp gives beer to a Liverpool fan who asks about Luis Díaz).
In 1990, Justin Fashanu was the first English professional player to come out as gay.but he was already playing in an amateur category when he revealed his condition in an explosive interview with the tabloid ‘The Sun’.
Victim of insults and homophobic behavior after coming out as gay, the former Norwich and Nottingham Forest striker committed suicide eight years later.
“Being gay, bisexual or sexually different is still a taboo in men’s football”highlighted the young Daniels in an interview with ‘Sky Sport’.
“I think it’s because a lot of players want to be recognized for their manhood. And people see being gay as a weakness, something that can be provoked on the pitch,” he continued.
“But the way I see things, I play football and (spectators) can yell things at me, but they pay to see me play and I make a living like that. So yell whatever you want, it won’t change anything.”insisted the footballer.
(Also: Luis Díaz, ‘with his hand outstretched’: the video of the celebration with Liverpool).
Daniels’ announcement has been met with a wave of sympathy from across English football.
“You are an inspiration to all of us, Jake,” Leicester wrote on their Twitter account.
“Football is a sport for all, with diversity at its core, and this is a huge step in the right direction as we all try to create a truly inclusive sport that we will all be proud of.”tweeted for its part the English Federation.
Fifa and Uefa also spoke.
“There are people out there in the same space as me that may not feel comfortable revealing their sexuality.
“I 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.”
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) May 16, 2022
👏 Brave, honest and truly inspirational. Well done, Jake. The European football community is with you.
— UEFA (@UEFA) May 16, 2022
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