Jake Daniels from Blackpool FC has revealed that he is gay. He was interviewed today on televised television. This makes him Britain’s first openly gay professional footballer.

He is the 17-year old only top-flight British player who has come out.

Daniels wanted to break down the stigma and is currently the only gay male professional in America. He also holds the record for being the first openly gay pro in the entire world, a momentous achievement in men’s golf.

He spoke to Sky News in an interview, saying that he has been processing and processing each day about what I want, when it is, and now feels like the right moment – I know I feel ready for people to hear my story.

“I want people know me. Lying all the times is not what I was looking for.

“It’s been hard but I feel now that I can be me and free to do what I want.

Daniels is the Premier Minister’s ‘inspiration to us all’ and the first Briton in male professional sports to publicly come out as gay, since Justin Fashanu at age 29 in 1990.

Sky Sports reported that he said, “It has been quite an amazing year.” I’m 17. I signed a professional agreement. I have scored 30 goals in this season. I made my Championship debut against Peterborough, and came off the bench to make my Championship debut.

“And now I am ready to leave. It feels like everything happened simultaneously. This season, I was just trying to be a good player. It seems I am.

“So, this was the last thing I had in my mind that I needed to complete. People know that it is out now. You know what, I’m free to live the life I choose. It has been amazing.

Pictured: Blackpool FC's Jake Daniels, who is just 17 years old, has come out as gay in a televised interview today

Pictured: Blackpool FC’s Jake Daniels is 17 years old and has openedly declared that he is gay during a live televised interview.

Speaking to Sky Sports (pictured above), 17-year-old Jake Daniels said he felt the time was right and he was ready to come out

Sky Sports (pictured below): Jake Daniels, 17, said that he believed the time was right for him and was willing to make his way.

The only openly gay man to have played in English soccer's professional leagues was Justin Fashanu, who was not active at a high level when he made the announcement in 1990. The ex-Nottingham Forest and Norwich City striker was found dead at 37

Justin Fashanu is the only gay player in English soccer’s professional leagues. However, he was not at an elite level when he announced his intention to play in 1990. At 37, the ex-Scorer for Norwich City and Nottingham Forest was dead.

Josh Cavallo (22) plays for Australian club Adelaide United. He came out last year as gay and became the only openly gay professional in the world.

Other players have come out after their careers were over, including former Aston Villa player Thomas Hitzlsperger, 40, and ex-Hull City youth’s Thomas Beattie, 35.

Daniels has been with Blackpool FC for seven years. He said that he realized he was gay when he turned six. However, he thought this would become a permanent thing as he grew older, because football and homosexuality ‘didn’t mix.

Sky Sports interviewed him: “I have had girls in the past to make my friends think I am straight, but it was just an elaborate cover-up so it’s been difficult.

“Also, at school, everybody used to always ask me “Are you sure that you’re gay?”. I replied with an emphatic “No I’m not” as I didn’t know how to answer but it wasn’t my time. 

Daniels was named U18 club’s top player and scored 30 goals. He also won the title of club’s top youth athlete. Daniels’ senior debut came this month, in Peterborough’s 5-0 defeat.

Pro-football males who are gay have been publicly identified 

Justin Fashanu was the first football professional to openly identify as gay. He did so in 1990.

Fashanu made his pro debut with Norwich City in 1979 and played for a handful of clubs including Nottingham Forest and Brighton & Hove Albion.

He went on to become the first black footballer to command a £1 million transfer fee from Norwich City to Nottingham Forest.

He was seriously injured in his knee and had to be treated in the USA. After he recovered, he went back to England to play for some North American teams. Then he bounced between Leyton Orient, Southall non-league and Leatherhead, a semipro club.

He came out later that year as gay and became the first English football player to openly identify himself as such.

Fashanu, at 37 years old, took his own life in London’s garage eight years later. 

He was the last player in England’s highest tiers who came out to be gay, until Jake Daniels announced today.

Josh Cavallo (22) plays for Australian club Adelaide United. He came out last year as gay and became the only openly gay professional in the world.

Cavallo, a top-flight football player from the United States, was the first to openly identify as gay. He did so in October 2021.

He said that he was tired of feeling embarrassed about his sexuality, and exhausted from trying to lead a double-life. 

In the YouTube clip, the 21-yearold says, “I am a footballer, and I am gay”, and in his statement to Adelaide’s Instagram, he draws support from colleagues around the globe.

He said, “All that I want to do in life is play football and get treated equally.”

Thomas Hitzlsperger from Germany is the most prominent gay football player since Fashanu.

Hitzlsperger was gay in January 2014 after retiring one year earlier while interviewing Die Zeit (a German newspaper).

Hitzlsperger was captured 52 times by Germany. He also made appearances at the 2008 Euros and 2006 World Cup.

In team sports, it is rare for men to declare that they are LGBTQ+.

Gareth Thomas (former Wales captain) was the first professional active in rugby to be out in 2009. This happened two years prior to his retirement and has been a source for inspiration all across other sports.

Olympic diving champion Tom Daley, who was inspired by former England soccer captain Casey Stoney in 2014 to become gay, is one of Britain’s most well-known gay athletes.

After managing Manchester United’s women’s soccer team, she is now the coach for the San Diego Wave.

This 17-year-old substitute was used in the 81st minute and has become England’s first openly gay professional football player.

When asked if it was something that he needed to keep secret, he replied: “Yeh obviously so because there is no one that it’s necessary to hide and wait until retirement to possibly come out. But I knew it was such an awful long period of lying to not being able to get what I want.”

Daniels stated on Blackpool club’s website that he was inspired by sportsmen to disclose his sexuality.

He said, “It’s an opportunity to take a leap into the unknown as one of the country’s first footballers to disclose my sexuality.”

“But Josh Cavallo, the Adelaide defender, Matt Morton, and other athletes, such as Tom Daley have inspired me to be determined to make a difference.

“The topic of gay or bisexual men playing football remains taboo. It all boils down to the way that many footballers desire to be acknowledged for their masculinity.

“People view being gay as weak and something they can pick on on the football pitch. People are easy to target.

The way I see it, I play football with them and they shout at me. However, they are watching me and paying me for it. This is how I view it. It’s my life.

“Speak up, but it doesn’t matter what.

“I don’t want to stop people saying those things, but I do need to understand how not to let them affect me.”

“I want others to come out of my shell, and I hope to do that.”

“I’m only 17, but I know that I’m ready to make this my career. If other people see me as a model and believe that they could do the same, it would be amazing.

Daniels had high praises for Blackpool’s team at Sky Bet Championship.

His words were: “Blackpool are absolutely incredible too. They are always there for me and they make me feel safe.

“My teammates have been supportive and always had my back.

“They asked tons of questions. They have all been curious and the response has been amazing. This is the most wonderful thing that I could ask for.

“Of course everyone was shocked and asked why I hadn’t told them sooner. It was an amazing reaction, it demonstrated how deeply they care.

“The captain Chris Maxwell was one of my main contacts and also asked lots of questions. In the end, he said, “I’m so proud of your.” It was so meaningful.

I like when people ask questions. I want people to listen to my stories and get the facts.

He has received widespread praise from fans, players and outsiders for the bravery he displayed today.

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of Canada, tweeted his admiration for Daniels’ news. 

Rio Ferdinand, a former Manchester United player said he had’massive respect for Daniels’ brave decision.

Ferdinand tweeted: “Massive respect to this brave decision. Let’s create safe, supportive environments for LGBTQ+ individuals in football and other sports!’.

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville, both Sky Sports pundits for football, also praised the teenager.

Neville, speaking on Sky Sports News said that he was incredibly proud to have seen a 17-year old interview at that quality.

“What he just did takes extraordinary courage. That would have seemed unimaginable back then.” [15-20 years ago]. That must have been very difficult. This day is very important for both him and English football. It’s a huge moment for football.

“The game hasn’t dealt with the issue well. We know that now it is something that is acceptable from a fan point of view but a dressing room can be an evil place…you have the initiation ceremonies, peer pressure, things like that. Think about how 16-year olds would feel if they were forced into an ego-driven environment like this.

The 17-year-old forward Jake Daniels (pictured) is the only active openly gay male professional player in Britain

 The 17-year-old forward Jake Daniels (pictured) is the only active openly gay male professional player in Britain

The world of football heaped praise on Blackpool forward Jake Daniels, pictured during his senior debut, after he came out

Blackpool’s forward Jake Daniels was praised by the football world. He is pictured in his senior debut. 

Impressed: Sky Sports' Gary Neville (pictured above) has praised Daniels and said that it is 'a big, big moment for football'

Impress: Sky Sports’ Gary Neville (pictured below) has spoken highly of Daniels, calling it a ‘big, big moment in football’

“It is an important day in football’s history and requires extraordinary courage.

Carragher, impressed with the way his team supported him as a youngster added that he thought it was important for them to see their approach.

“That’s what they need moving forward and we wish him well as a player. This is an example [the way the club have handled it]Thank you for moving ahead

Gary Lineker, another pundit joined the well wishes and tweeted: “Well played Jake Daniels. It’s been a brilliant season for you on the pitch, and now through your bravery, off the pitch too.

‘I’m sure you’ll receive huge love and support from the football community and many others will follow your path. You are very welcome.

“I believe that football, except for a few homophobic morons and incredibly supportive of gay players, will be extremely welcoming.”

‘It’s long overdue for a player to “come out” even though it’s ridiculous that it’s even necessary. “A footballer is still a footballer.” 

Jacqui Oatley, commentator wrote that there is so much love and support for @JackDaniels11s decision to come out. It’s truly heartwarming.

“To think that he is only 17 years old and has never played any first-team football, yet he wants to encourage and empower others. He will, I am certain. Jake, go! 

Kevin Stewart from Blackpool showed support for Daniels. 

Thomas Hitzlsperger was gay and came out after retiring. He wished Daniels a ‘wonderful career.

He said, “Well done @JakeDaniels11! Have a fantastic career!” Great to see the support of @BlackpoolFC and @stonewalluk to make this possible!’.

According to the FA, Daniels was a ‘inspiration for us all’.

They said: Jake, we are all inspired by you and support your openness about that part of yourself.

“Football has a place for everyone, and it is inclusive of all races. We are proud to be able to call this a positive step.

Premier League said that they support Jake and that football is good for all.

“We are very proud of Jake, and we have been working closely with him and the club,” added The Professional Footballers Association. All at the PFA are there to support him.

Blackpool stated that they had worked with Stonewall and other relevant organisations in order to support Jake. They are extremely proud that Jake has achieved a level where he can express himself on and off the pitch.

“It’s vital that all of us promote an environment that allows people to feel at ease being themselves, and football is a great example in how we can remove any discrimination or prejudice.

Outside the world of football, Prime Minister Boris Johnson commended the ‘bravery’ and ‘courage’ of the Blackpool footballer after he came out as gay.

Johnson sent this tweet: ‘Thanks Jake for being brave, Jake. That would take a lot of courage.

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour leader tweeted that this was a great example of courage and bravery. It will be an inspiration for many young people in the country. Jake, thank you. We’re all here for you. 

A host of players and clubs have shown their support for Jake Daniels, pictured, after he came out as gay this afternoon

Jake Daniels was made to feel supported by a host of clubs and players after coming out.

Jake Daniels has been with Blackpool FC since he was seven (pictured for the U18 squad) and made his senior debut this year

Jake Daniels, who has been with Blackpool FC FC since the age of seven (pictured in the U18 squad), made his senior debut at this year’s Blackpool FC.

Daniels, who signed his first professional contract in February with Blackpool and made his Championship debut this month earlier this year.

Wes Streeting, Shadow Health Secretary, said: “This should not require courage in today’s age. But it does.”

“Thank you @Jake Daniels11 for being an inspiration. I hope you can inspire others.

Sir Ed Davey, Liberal Democrat leader added that in 2022 it should not be a major deal for a footballer. Jake Daniels’ decision was a huge deal. We are grateful to Jake Daniels11 for his courage in setting an example for others.

Amal Fashanu is the founder of Justin Fashanu Foundation, which fights homophobia in football. She revealed in 2020 her foundation offered counselling to five anonymously gay footballers, including two players from the Premier League. 

In 2019, she founded the foundation partly to assist more athletes.

Daniels, pictured during his interview, said he realised he was gay when he was just five or six

Daniels (pictured in his interview) said that he realized he was gay at the age of five to six.

Josh Cavallo, who plays for Australian team Adelaide United, came out as gay last year to become the only out pro in the world

Josh Cavallo plays for the Australian team Adelaide United and came out last year as gay to be the first out professional in the world.

Amal Fashanu commented on this announcement today, saying: “The Justin Fashanu Foundation would love to commend Jake’s immense courage in making public his sexuality. This is an extremely important time for Jake and it’s wonderful that his friends as well as his family are so supportive.

“If Justin was alive, I’m sure he would have reached out to Jake and offered his best wishes. Justin wanted to build a society that was more compassionate and free from bigotry.

“Jake,” the announcement, will bring great relief to many of the football players at every level of the game (grass roots through professional) who are secretly gay but feel they cannot come out.

“I hope that this announcement will mark a turning point, and other footballers who desire to speak out about their lives off the field feel more comfortable.

“The sad truth is that there’s still much homophobia within the game at all levels. While the authorities are taking more concrete and decisive actions, I worry that many players will keep living in secret believing they have something to ashamed of until then.

“Homophobia” in games must be dealt with as racism is treated. We will only see Jake and other players willing to get out of the shadows to live the lives they really want.

Cavallo, a top-flight football player from the United States, was the first to openly identify as gay. He did so in October 2021.

He said that he was tired of feeling embarrassed about his sexuality, and exhausted from trying to lead a double-life. 

In the YouTube clip, the 21-yearold says, “I am a footballer, and I am gay,” and he also posted a statement to his Instagram account. This message received widespread support from professionals all over the world.

He said, “All that I want is to be able to play football and get treated equally.”

Gary Lineker, a former England striker, and BBC Match of the Day host, took to Twitter to express support. He said that he hopes Cavallo’s actions will “erase the fear other may have” of being gay.

The former Tottenham and Barcelona football star said, “It’s absurd to think that coming out in football is a brave act to do.” It’s true, Josh. My admiration is for his determination to follow a path that will hopefully inspire others.

“I know the overwhelming majority football enthusiasts will support him. It is possible to erase all fears that others may harbor.” 

Cavallo said in his video: ‘There is something personal that I need to share with everyone. I am both a footballer, and I’m gay.

Growing up, I had the urge to cover myself in shame. If I didn’t I would be able love what I want and could never have my own gay life.

“Coming out to my family, friends, teammates, coaches, and loved ones has been amazing. My support has been incredible.

“It is okay to play football and be yourself. People will respect you more if you play football, [by coming out]. 

He said that his current situation was “an absolute nightmare” and added: “I feel trapped. My fear is that telling the truth about who I am will make matters worse.”