Blackpool's Jake Daniels publicly comes out as gay
Daniels is the first male professional footballer since Justin Fashanu to publicly come out as gay
Blackpool's Jake Daniels has become the first male professional footballer since Justin Fashanu to publicly come out as gay, saying that it is a "massive relief" to finally announce the news.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Daniels revealed why he had made the brave decision to come out in public and how he hopes his story can inspire others to follow suit.
"I have been thinking for a long time about how I want to do it, when I want to do it. I know now is the time. I am ready to be myself, be free and be confident with it all," he said.
"I can't really put a date on it, but I was probably five or six years old when I knew I was gay. So it's been a long time that I have been living with the lie.
"At that age you don't really think that football and being gay doesn't mix. You just think, one day, when I'm older I'll get a girlfriend and I will change and it will be fine.
"But as you get older you realise you can't just change. It doesn't work like that."
'Now I am just confident and happy to be myself finally'
Daniels continued to explain his story and that by speaking to his family, friends and teammates, he feels more confident and "happy to be myself."
He added: "Since I've come out to my family, my club and my team-mates, that period of overthinking everything and the stress it created has gone. It was impacting my mental heath. Now I am just confident and happy to be myself finally.
"I first told my mum and my sister, who I live with. 'Yeah, we already knew,' was how they reacted.
"Then we told my whole family and at this point I was quite scared because I didn't know how the older generation might react."
'I am hoping that by coming out, I can be a role model, to help others come out if they want to'
The 17-year-old has said that he has received widespread support and that he hopes his story can act as an inspiration to others in a similar position to him.
"I've had so many messages saying, 'we are proud and we are supportive.' It's been amazing. I couldn't have wished for it to go better," Daniels added.
“The day after we played Accrington and I scored four, so it just shows how much of a weight off the shoulders it was.” pic.twitter.com/xG0Nu2qcd9
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 16, 2022
"And Blackpool have been absolutely amazing too. I am with them every day and I felt safe. My team-mates have all been so supportive about it and everyone has had my back.
"They've been asking tons of questions, they have all been intrigued and their reaction has been brilliant. It's the best thing I could have asked for.
"Of course, everyone was kind of shocked in a way and they were asking why I didn't tell them earlier. That was a great reaction because it showed how much they cared.
— Blackpool FC (@BlackpoolFC) May 16, 2022
"I am hoping that by coming out, I can be a role model, to help others come out if they want to. I am only 17 but I am clear that this is what I want to do and if, by me coming out, other people look at me and feel maybe they can do it as well, that would be brilliant.
"If they think this kid is brave enough do this, I will be able to do it too."
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