Jake Daniels, a 17-year-old footballer who plays for Blackpool in the English League II (Championship), is the first active British professional player to publicly admit his homosexuality. The player did so through a statement released on Monday.
“This season has been fantastic for me. I played my first professional game, scored 30 goals in the youth team and signed my first professional contract. But off the pitch, I hid who I really am. I always knew I was gay and now I feel like I’m ready to come out and be myself. site of the club, in which he admits: “I have been thinking for a long time about how I want to do it, when I want to do it. I know it’s the right time. I am ready to be myself, to be free and to have faith in all of this.
Although he claims he always knew how to be gay, Daniels says that as a child he thought that “One day when I grow up I’ll have a girlfriend and I’ll change and everything will be fine”. “But as you get older, you realize you can’t just change. It doesn’t work that way.”
To tell the family to the world
Jake Daniels recalls, in his testimony, that the first people he revealed to be homosexual were his mother and his sister, with whom he lives. ““Yeah, we already knew that,” was how the two reacted“, mentioned. The rest of the family followed and, at that time, the player confessed to feeling “very scared because I didn’t know how the older generation would react”. However, the fears turned out to be unfounded: “I got so many messages saying ‘we’re proud and we got your back’”.
After his family and closest friends, Daniels came out with his homosexuality with his teammates and the rest of the club. It’s the Blackpool hailed the bravery of the teenager: “Blackpool Football Club (…) are incredibly proud of [Jake Daniels] have reached a stage where they have the power to express themselves both on and off the pitch. It is vital that we all promote an environment where people feel free to be themselves, and that football paves the way for the elimination of all forms of discrimination and prejudice.
His gesture was greeted with many messages of sympathy and admiration from all over English football. “You are an inspiration to us all Jake” wrote Premier League Leicester on his Twitter account.
The Premier League has already commented, in a message posted on its website, that “football is a sport for everyone”, praising Daniels’ courage and saying that “a big step in the right direction” has been taken to make football “a real sport”. “. included”.
Be homosexual and footballer
“Being gay is still a taboo in men’s football. I think it’s because a lot of footballers want to be recognized for their masculinity. People watch [a homossexualidade] as a weakness, something that on the pitch can be seen as a provocation,” Daniels noted.
In fact, homosexuality has had no place in the four lines, with rare exceptions. At the end of last year, Australian Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo came out as gay in a video posted on Twitter by his club. The midfielder, currently 22 years old. revealed that he had hidden his sexual orientation for years for fear of not being able to fulfill his dream of being a footballer: ” Growing upI always felt the need to hide, because I was ashamed.”
In the UK, the only footballer to admit to being gay was Justin Fashanu, former Norwich and Nottingham Forrest striker, at a time when he was no longer running for the big guys. However, in the 1990s, his revelation was not well received. Several professional colleagues reacted badly to the statement, saying that the gay had no place in a team sport.
After coming out as gay, Justin Fashanu saw his career decline and eventually decided to move to the United States, where he played for Atlanta Ruckus. New Zealand followed, where he would play for Miramar Rangers.
Already retired from football, Fashanu was accused of sexually assaulting a minor under the age of 17. He was arrested and interrogated on April 3, 1998; a month later went andfound dead. He left a letter that said “to be homosexual and a public figure is very difficult”, specifying that he did not sexually assault the young man who accused him. “He had consensual sex with me; the next day he asked for money When I refused, he said, “Wait and see”.