Bravery of Jake Daniels, 17, is watershed moment for football

Quick Summary

  • Blackpool player Jake Daniels, 17 publicly came out as gay
  • He is the UK’s first active male professional footballer to come out publicly as gay
  • British footballer Justin Fashanu came out in 1990 – being the first ever UK player 
  • Jake Daniels’ announcement is a massive moment for football 
  • PM and sports stars leading the praise of Daniels 

In-depth analysis

Sport is reacting to the bravery of 17-year-old Blackpool player Jake Daniels who came out as gay yesterday, becoming the UK’s first active male professional footballer to come out publicly. Daniels is the first UK professional footballer to publicly come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990. 

On Monday, he told Sky Sports that he felt t was the right time to tell his story and the teen has seen a wave of support from across the sporting world and beyond. 

In his interview, he said he hopes to become a role model for other LGBTQ+ players to hopefully feel comfortable enough to come out if they want to. 

‘Important day for English football’ 

Gary Neville told Monday Night Football that he felt Daniels’ decision will go down in history as an important day for English football. 

“I was incredibly proud just to see a 17-year-old be able to actually do an interview of that level of quality,” Neville told Sky Sports.

Jake Daniels becomes first UK male footballer to come out as gay since 1990

“I would not have been able to do that in my mid-twenties or late-twenties. What he has just done took incredible courage. We have been in dressing rooms for many, many years and that would seem like the unthinkable to announce that you are gay. I can’t imagine how difficult that has been.

“It is a day of great importance for Jake and his family but also for English football. It will go down in history. It is a big, big moment for football players. It is of massive importance, this.

“I was on the PFA management committee probably 15 to 20 years ago now whereby this was a major talking point, a major issue at management committee meetings that we did not have a player comfortable enough to come out and say they were gay.

“How do we deal with this? How do we address this? The game has not dealt with this issue well at all. I think it is just about getting good with dealing with this issue from a fans’ perspective.”

A watershed moment

In an article for the BBC, Jack Murley writes that its a watershed moment for British football. Why?

Because you have to go back more than 30 years, to the time of Justin Fashanu, to find the last time that an active male professional footballer in the UK felt comfortable enough to come out.

The men’s game has changed significantly since then.

Don’t be mistaken – there are still issues that football needs to address when it comes to making LGBTQ+ people feel welcome in it. 

Daniels’ decision to come out won’t address the issue of homophobic chanting on the terraces, or alter the sort of policies that see major tournaments awarded to countries that criminalise LGBTQ+ people, or impact on any of the other structural and institutional issues that can make gay people feel like the game isn’t for them.

But those, perhaps, are conversations for another day.

Football is more open, more inclusive and more welcoming today than it was yesterday, all because Daniels has felt comfortable enough to be himself. – (BBC

Jake Daniels – reactions to historic news 

England captain Harry Kane leads the praise. 

PM Boris Johnson thanked Daniels for his bravery. 

The Guardian says the Blackpool forward Jake Daniels has ended decades of silence within men’s football to become the first player in the UK to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.


Sky News says A 17-year-old player has come out, becoming the only openly gay male professional footballer in Britain.


The Telegraph reports that despite the sanctioning of Roman Abramovich, potential buyers are still keen on Chelsea FC. The sale of the club can still go ahead if Abramovich agrees to allow the government to take over the process. The club is expected to sell for around £2bn

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