Out Footballer Jake Daniels Urges Something 'Needs to Change' With Sport
Emell Adolphus READ TIME: 2 MIN.
Out footballer Jake Daniels is urging that something "needs to change" with the mega popular sport so that more players feel comfortable coming out and playing as their full selves.
As reported by The Mirror, Daniels was the first English footballer to come out as gay when he came out in 2022. Thirty years back, Justin Fashanu was the last Englishman to come out while still actively playing.
Now, Daniels is hoping that others will follow in his footsteps and feel comfortable enough to come out. However, Daniels recognizes that some big changes still need to happen in order for more players to step forward.
Daniels recently joined Bradford Park Avenue on loan, but he shared that it has been all "happiness" since coming out.
"Being a target for fans is a massive thing. It's the same with racism, it's just an easy pinpoint to shout onto the pitch something racial or homophobic," said Daniels. "It can affect your game, and I feel like a lot of Premier League players want to focus on their football."
But, Daniels added, "You shouldn't have to live all that time as a lie so I think that's the main thing. They're big icons and role models. Something does need to change with men's football and that's why I wanted to come out, to change that."
It was a struggle, but Daniels said it was worth it for him.
"No-one in my lifetime had done it before so it was kid of going into the unknown," he said.
Statistically, Daniels explained that there are around "two or three" gay players on every team.
"But I do hope we can see more players come out as time goes on and during their career, not just when they've retired," he said. "People say all the time 'I want to be known as the football, not just the gay player', so for me it's just showing what I can do on the pitch."
In addition, yesterday the YouTube Channel of Utilita Football, which describes itself as "the home of Utilita Energy's partnerships in Football," posted an interview with Daniels where he talks about his experiences of being out in football.