How the Football World and Beyond Reacted to Footballer Jake Daniels Publicly Coming Out As Gay

·4-min read

On Monday, 17-year-old Blackpool footballer Jake Daniels became the first footballer in a generation to come out as gay.

Sharing his story with Sky Sports News, Daniels said: "For a long time I've thought I would have to hide my truth because I wanted to be, and now I am, a professional footballer. I asked myself if I should wait until I've retired to come out. No other player in the professional game here is out.

"However, I knew that would lead to a long time of lying and not being able to be myself or lead the life that I want to."

Since deciding to come out – and becoming the first UK-based current professional to do so since Justin Fashanu in 1990 – Daniels says the reaction from his club and teammates has been "absolutely amazing" and "so supportive".

The reaction from the rest of the world has been overwhelmingly positive too. "It is a day of great importance for obviously Jake and his family but also for English football," said former Manchester United footballer Gary Neville on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football. "It will go down in history. It is a big, big moment for football players. It is of massive importance, this.

"In 2022, we see this as a huge announcement and we see it as a big day and a day of great importance, but in 10 years the success of this will be that it's seen as being normal," he added.

Meanwhile, speaking on BBC Breakfast, former England footballer Gary Lineker said: "He's going down a path that many, many others will follow - they've probably just been waiting to see how it pans out for whoever's first. And I think once they see that the overwhelming majority of people will be more than accepting, others will follow suit.

"I think he will be massively accepted. Not just in his own dressing room but players he plays against. I think, overall, dressing rooms wouldn't think about it. They will consider if you're a good footballer or not. That's all that matters."

This is how the rest of the football world, and beyond, reacted:

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