Tuesday, September 27, 2022

English football player Jake Daniels says he is gay

LONDON ( Associated Press) – English football player Jake Daniels said he is gay on Monday at a crucial moment for the European men’s game.

The 17-year-old forward announced his first season with second division club Blackpool as a professional.

“This season has been great for me on the pitch,” he said in a statement. “But off the pitch I’ve been hiding my true self and who I really am. I’ve known my whole life that I’m gay, and now I feel like I’m ready to come out and be myself.

“It’s a step into the unknown, one of the first footballers in this country to reveal my sexuality.”

While there are many prominent LGBTQ+ players in women’s football, the men’s professional game is lacking in players who are publicly gay and seem to have a hostile attitude even in the locker room.

Over the weekend, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Idrisa Guay was dropped from the squad on match day for a game in Montpellier after reports she refused to wear the team jersey with the rainbow-colored numbers.

It was part of a French league-wide campaign against homophobia and a strong Muslim belief in Senegalese International. PSG has not denied the reports or made an official comment.

Daniels said he was inspired by Australian team Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo, who is the only openly gay man to play in the top division in world football, after the 22-year-old midfielder announced in October

“I’ve hated lying my whole life and felt the need to change to fit in,” Daniels said. “I want to be a role model myself by doing this. There are people out there just like me who may not feel comfortable revealing their sexuality.

“I just want to tell them that you don’t need to change who you are, or how you should be, just to fit in. Being you and being happy is what matters most.”

Daniels said his sexuality was adopted after teammates at Blackpool believed in him. The Northwest English club said it was “incredibly proud that it has reached a stage where it has the right to express itself both on and off the pitch.”

The English Football Association said Daniels was an “inspiration” for the game.

“This is an extremely positive step as we strive to create an inclusive sport we can all be proud of,” the governing body tweeted. “We are with you and we hope that your story will help give people the strength and encouragement to be their true selves throughout the game.”

The only gay man to play in the professional league of English football was Justin Fashanu, who was not active at a high level when he announced in 1990. The former Nottingham Forest and Norwich City striker was found hanging in a London garage at age. 37. The Justin Fashanu Foundation calls him “the world’s first openly gay professional footballer”.

Football in England is still trying to banish homophobic chants in some sports.

“If by my coming out other people see me and feel like they can do the same, that would be awesome,” Daniels told broadcaster Sky Sports. “If they think this kid is brave enough to do it, I’ll be able to do it too. I hate knowing that people are in the same situation I was in.”

“I think it will be amazing if a Premier League footballer comes out. I think I may have done my job and inspired someone else to do the same. I just want it to go up from here. We shouldn’t be where we are now.”

It is rare in team sports for men to declare that they are LBTQ+.

Former Wales captain Gareth Thomas was the first active rugby professional to come out in 2009, two years before retiring, and has become a source of inspiration in the sport.

The first active NFL player to come out as gay was Carl Nasib, when he was with the Las Vegas Raiders. The defensive end was issued by the team in March.

The first openly gay player in the NBA was Jason Collins, playing for the Brooklyn Nets in 2021.

One of the most prominent gay athletes in Britain is Olympic diving champion Tom Daly who inspired former England football captain Casey Stoney to come out in 2014. She coached the San Diego Wave after managing the women’s team at Manchester United.

“It took a lot of guts and courage,” Stoney tweeted to Jake Daniels. “Good for you to break out of the mold and be the authentically you are! Wouldn’t it be great if we found a place where we could use the words ‘dare and courage’ to describe one’s own instincts? Don’t have to use it.”

Nation World News Desk
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