Blackpool star Jake Daniels becomes first current British footballer to come out as gay

16 May 2022, 17:49 | Updated: 17 May 2022, 08:46

Jake Daniels (right) has come out as gay.
Jake Daniels (right) has come out as gay. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Blackpool's Jake Daniels has come out as gay, becoming Britain's only current openly gay professional player.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The 17-year-old player said he has received "amazing support" from his teammates after sharing his sexuality.

It makes the youngster the first British professional footballer in the men's game to come out publicly since Justin Fashanu in 1990 - making him the only current player to be openly gay.

In a message shared by Blackpool FC, Daniels admitted he has "hated lying" and "feeling the need to change to fit in".

"I want to be a role model myself by doing this," he wrote.

Read more: Professional male footballer Josh Cavallo comes out as gay in world first

Prime Minister Boris Johnson commended the "bravery" and "courage" of the Blackpool footballer.

Mr Johnson tweeted: "Thank you for your bravery Jake, it would have taken huge courage to come out and you will be an inspiration to many both on and off the pitch."

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting also congratulated him, writing on Twitter: "This shouldn't need courage in today's day and age, but it does.

"Thank you @Jake_Daniels11 for being a trailblazer.

"Hope you inspire others to follow."

LGBTQ+ stars from the world of entertainment also gave their reactions.

Great British Bake Off presenter Matt Lucas tweeted: "It's a landmark day in British LGBT history.

"Brilliant, brave @Jake_Daniels11, a professional Championship footballer with @BlackpoolFC, has come out.

"Huge respect to you, Jake, and to your club and teammates for supporting you."

Comedian and activist Eddie Izzard wrote: "I salute you, Jake."

The footballer said he has been hiding his true self and who he really is his whole life, but has been inspired by the likes of Olympic champion Tom Daley to be himself.

"I’ve known my whole life that I’m gay, and I now feel that I’m ready to come out and be myself," he said.

"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."

Daniels recently made his senior debut for Blackpool FC, who he says have been "incredibly pro-active in putting my interests and welfare first".

He also thanked his family, his agent, Stonewall charity and his teammates in the youth team - who he said have "embraced the news" and supported his decision to tell the world.

"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."

LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall, which is behind football's Rainbow Laces campaign, offered support to both Daniels and his club as they planned the release of his statement.

The organisation tweeted: "We are proud that Jake has felt able to share his truth with the world.

"To come out publicly as the first openly gay player in men's professional football in the UK in the last 30 years takes courage.

"We're honoured to be supporting him!

"Stonewall is proud to provide ongoing support to Jake, his close network & @BlackpoolFC to navigate the challenges of coming out in the public eye.

"We are heartened by the solidarity he has received from the club and his teammates.

"British men's football is ready to welcome openly gay and bi players.

"It has been ready for some time.

"Our #RainbowLaces campaign has taught us that while there is still a way to go, attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people in sport are changing.

"We're moving towards a world where players can live openly as their true selves, both on and off pitch.

"That's something we can all take pride in."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A boy, 8, was killed in the incident.

Boy, 8, dies after crash on quiet Wiltshire cul-de-sac

Five of the six victims from the stabbing have been named.

Victims of Sydney stabbings named as heartbroken tributes flood in following attack by knifeman who killed six

The Israeli Iron Dome air defence system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran

Israel hails ‘success’ in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack

Rishi Sunak confirmed a number of Iranian drones attacking Israel were shot down by RAF jets.

RAF jets shot down ‘a number’ of Iranian drones attacking Israel, Rishi Sunak says

A demonstrator waves Iranian and Palestinian flags during an anti-Israeli gathering at the Felestin (Palestine) Square in Tehran, Iran

What is the fallout from Iran’s attack on Israel?

Disability advocate Charlotte Anderson advises people on how to apply for PIP.

YouTuber who fills out PIP applications for £650 each says she has ‘only ever lost one claim in six years’

Planning documents show the owners of the pub want to rebuild it in a new location.

Owners of Crooked House agree to rebuild ‘Britain’s wonkiest pub’ - providing it's in a new location

Joe Biden has reaffirmed the US's commitment to defending Israel's security.

Biden reaffirms ‘ironclad support' of Israel as he plans G7 meeting to coordinate ‘diplomatic response to Iran attack’

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

‘Together we will win’: Netanyahu vows to fight off attacks from Iran after over 300 drones and missiles fired at Israel

Israeli's military have fought off a massive Iranian drone and missile attack - downing more than 200 weapons launched by the hostile state with the help of ace RAF pilots.

Israel fights off massive Iran attack - downing over 200 missiles and drones with help of RAF

Plans have been drawn up for an evacuation of Brits from the Middle East. Defence Secretary Grant Shapps (l) and protesters outside the British Embassy in Tehran (r)

Brits living in the Middle East could be rescued by the Royal Marines in 'Dunkirk-style' evacuation

The knifeman who killed six people in a rampage at a Sydney shopping centre has been named as 40-year-old Joel Cauchi (left)

Pictured: Sydney knifeman, 40, who killed six people before being shot dead by brave policewoman

Iranian drones and missiles have arrived in Israel with explosions in the skies - as officials warn of a "significant response" to the massive attack.

Explosions in skies and sirens across Jerusalem amid Iranian attack - as Israel warns of 'significant response'

USS Bataan which is heading to the Eastern Mediterranean (main) and Joe Biden (r)

US sends amphibious warship and 2,500 Marines into the Eastern Mediterranean after Iran attacks Israel

US and UK forces are helping defend Israel from Iranian drones and missiles after a massive attack was launched.

British and American jets 'shoot down Iranian drones' as Rishi Sunak slams Iran for 'reckless' attack against Israel

President Biden is holding an emergency national security meeting as the US prepares its response to Iran's drone and missile attack on Israel.

President Biden holds high-stakes emergency meeting as Iran launches full-scale attack on Israel