Blackpool striker Jake Daniels has become the first professional footballer to come out as gay in England in three decades.
The player, who at the age of 17 signed his first contract last February, told the ‘Sky News’ chain that “this was the right time to do it” and thanked the support he has received from the club and his teammates.
“For a long time I thought that I would have to hide the truth because I wanted to be, and in fact now I am, a professional footballer. I asked myself if I shouldn’t wait until I retire to come out of the closet, because no other professional footballer here has come out.” Daniels explained.
“However, I knew that it meant lying for a long time and not being able to be myself or live the life I want,” he argued.
Before him, in 1990, justin fashanufootballer for Norwich and Manchester City, among other teams, exclusively admitted to the tabloid ‘The Sun’ that he was gay after learning that a newspaper was about to publish it.
Daniels said Monday that after “thinking about it for a long time” he has decided he wants to “be free” and for people to know his “real self.”
“Since I’ve told my family, my club and my teammates, the period of overthinking and stress has evaporated. It was affecting my mental health. Now I just feel confident and happy to finally be myself.” , he recounted.
“My teammates have been a great support, they have all supported me. They have asked tons of questions, they have been very interested and their reaction has been fantastic. It is the best thing I could have wished for.”
The player admitted that homosexuality is still a “taboo” in professional locker rooms.
“Of course, I am aware that there will be a reaction to this and that some of it will be homophobic, maybe in some stadium or on social networks. It is an easy target,” he said.
“I see it this way: I’m playing football and they’re yelling, but they’re the ones who are paying to watch me and I live my life and make money from it. So they can yell as much as they want,” he stressed.