First active European professional soccer player celebrates coming out
British kicker Jake Daniels celebrated his coming out. This makes him the only European and the third active professional soccer player ever to admit his sexual orientation. Prince William also appreciated this.
Jake Daniels, 17, recently signed his first professional contract with English second division club Blackpool. Shortly thereafter, the British footballer revealed that he is gay – and thus sent an important signal.
Jake Daniels: “I just don’t want to lie anymore”
“Now is the right time to do that,” Jake Daniels told Sky Sports. For a long time he hesitated whether he should take this step. Before he celebrated his coming out in public, he talked about it with his family and his club. “For a long time I thought that I was hiding my truth because I wanted to be a professional footballer, which I am now,” said the kicker about his initial doubts. “I was wondering if I should wait until I retire before making it public.”
But he realized: “I just don’t want to lie anymore.” The striker has ultimately decided to tell his story and hopes his coming out will make a mark in professional football. “If by that […] other people seeing that and feeling like maybe they can do the same, that would be awesome.”
Because Daniels is the only active player in Europe who publicly admits to his sexual orientation. Before him, Australian kicker Josh Cavallo, 22, did so late last year. In 1990, the late Justin Fashanu, † 37, identified himself as gay. In Germany, the former national player Thomas Hitzlsperger, 40, was the only professional to have come out after the end of his career.
Jake Daniels felt a load lift from his shoulders
Coming out in front of his family was like a liberating blow for the British attacker. “I scored four goals the day after I told my mum and sister,” Daniels said. “It shows what a weight I got off my shoulders and what a tremendous relief it was.”
Prince William supports the footballer
The 17-year-old received a lot of encouragement for his coming out. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 57, tweeted: “Thank you for your courage Jake. […] You will be an inspiration to many, both on and off the field.”
British football club Norwich City also showed their solidarity at a game a few days later: The club’s players wore T-shirts with a rainbow flag that read “Jake Daniels, game changer, Norwich City stands by you”.
Prince William, 39, also showed his support for the athlete. “Football should be a game for everyone. What Jake has done takes courage and will hopefully help break down barriers that have no place in our society,” he wrote on his official Twitter account. And further: “I hope that his decision to speak openly gives others the confidence to do the same. W”.
Sources used: sport.sky.de, youtube.com, twitter.com, picture-alliance.com