Jake Daniels says he is overwhelmed by the love and support he has received since the teenager became the first active male professional footballer in the UK to publicly come out as gay.
On Monday, 17-year-old Daniels said sky game He felt it was time to tell his story at the end of a season in which he scored over 30 goals and made his professional debut in the championship.
The positive response to his announcement was encouraging for the Blackpool striker, who took to Instagram to express his gratitude.
“I have taken some time to digest what has happened over the past few days and collect my thoughts,” he posted. “I am overwhelmed by all the messages of love and support I have received. It is incredibly touching.
“Just want to say a big thank you to @blackpoolfc for everything over the past few months – you’ve been amazing.
“To my family and friends for giving me the strength to move forward in my life. I am very much indebted to you.
“For @skysports_tim for giving me the confidence to be mine – your understanding and sensitivity has been immense throughout our time together.
To (agent) @Billybingham03 and @astrapartnersfootball for their guidance – you have been amazing to me and my family.
“And many thanks to (Leeds businessman) @terrygeorge for his generosity and caring for me over the past few days.
“I am proud of what I have done this morning, but also proud to be part of such a welcoming and supportive community.
“Together we can end stigma and move football forward.”
Klopp: Football will support Daniel
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he was proud of Daniel for making the bold decision to make a public appearance.
“Excellent. When I saw him speak, I couldn’t believe he was 17.
“The whole football community will support him. Whatever we can do. I don’t know him but I am really proud of him. I’m really happy for him.”
Prince William: Hope Daniels helps break down barriers
Football Association President Prince William also tweeted in support of Daniel on Tuesday afternoon.
He wrote: “Football should be a sport for all.
“What Jake has done takes courage and will hopefully help break down barriers that have no place in our society.
“I hope his decision to speak up gives others the confidence to do the same.”
There is a place for everyone in football.
Daniels cited Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo, the only current top-flight male professional footballer to be gay, as an inspiration behind his decision to speak out, with the Australian saying it was an “amazing feeling” after hearing the news. Was.
He added: “As I and Adelaide United prepare for the A-League semi-finals, I want to stop and take a moment to acknowledge Jake’s announcement and say how much I love his bravery. It’s great to know that my story helped Jake become himself.
“My story has touched and inspired millions around the world, and it is wonderful to see how it is helping to advance the global sport at every level. For everyone in this world and the game of football. There is a place. Love always wins.”
Grealish: A “Big Step Forward”
Manchester City striker Jack Grealish has said Daniels’ exit is a “huge step”.
in an exclusive interview with sky NewsGrealish praised Daniels for coming out with her sexuality after “such a long period of lying”.
“I think it shows a lot of courage and no one can disagree with that. I think it’s absolutely brilliant and a big step.”
“I think now, fingers crossed, this could be a big step for everyone because football is for everyone.”
Rogers: Another real move | Vieira: It shows that things are improving.
Leicester Boss Brendan Rogers Said: “It was another real step forward not only in football but in society in general.
“As for Jake, I am sure he will have woken up this morning feeling free and free to live his life the way he wants. You have seen the reaction of many people around the sport – football Has been growing for many years and for Jake and other young people who want to come out, hopefully this will be the beginning.
Manager of Crystal Palace Patrick Vieira Added: “I think it takes a lot of courage to come out and speak up. The support he has received so far from football and society in general has been really positive. It just shows that the world is getting better. That’s good and if it can be a positive example, that’s good.
“Football is no different from our society. We are in a better position than we were 30 years ago and it is still difficult to put football in a box because it reflects our society… although there is still a lot to do.
“Education is the basis of mutual respect. Of course, the power of sport allows us to educate most people. We can use football to promote education. There is still much to be done and hopefully the next In a few years, we’ll be in an even better place.”
Jones hopes Daniels will encourage rugby players to come out
The sports world’s reaction was not limited to football. England rugby head coach Eddie Jones praised Daniels and said he hoped it could inspire rugby union, where there are also some openly gay players.
“The first thing I would do would be to congratulate [Daniels] To be so brave and courageous, because the first person who does it opens up the possibility for others to do so,” he said. sky sports news,
“He should be congratulated, and if he encourages a rugby player to do the same in a similar situation, we are grateful to that player.”
“We haven’t seen a moment like this in a generation”
Liz Ward, director of programs for Stonewall, Europe’s largest LGBTQ+ human rights organization, described it as “a special moment for all of us who love gaming”.
“What a moment,” said Ward. Sky Sports News. “I feel like my cheeks are really hurting from the smiles I’ve been through for the past few days.
“We haven’t had a moment like this in a generation, and I think the last time it happened was that the world was in a different place and football was in a different place.
“To be able to sit here and talk about this brave and brilliant 17-year-old boy – who is brilliant at football – to be able to live out his true personality and be free to be himself in the world of the football game And this is an important and special moment for all of us who love society.”
How Morton Helped Daniels: Inspire Jake, Not Me!
Daniels was inspired by Thetford Town’s ninth-level player-manager Matt Morton, before deciding to come out publicly after seeing his history of being an openly gay man in football.
But Morton, who offered his support in the months before Daniels came out, says he is the teenager who should be congratulated for the bravery shown this week.
“I’m not the inspiration, it’s him,” Morton told Sky Sports News. “He’s a 17-year-old kid who was brave enough to be on national TV, just signed a professional contract, and tell the world he’s gay.
“He’s totally inspiring to me on a whole different level. I talk to Jake almost daily, most recently maybe weekly, since earlier this year when he reached out to me via Instagram.
“By looking at my story, being able to relate to him, reaching out to me, and then leaning on me with every question under the sun over the past few months, you’ve been trying to help Jake. You can imagine getting your head around it and make your decision on whether or not it will come out, as the case may be. »
“Daniel will be an inspiration to many more”
DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said: “Jake Daniels has shown great courage in telling his story and will be an inspiration to many other players and fans who, sadly, cannot do the same. which should be for everyone. The last male professional footballer in this country for more than three decades has felt comfortable enough to do so, suggesting an ongoing culture of homophobia in football that has been around for modern times. is out of step with.
“The committee has previously called for changes to the Football Offenses Act to make homophobic abuse a criminal offence. Jake’s adventure now could be a turning point for game makers and provide a new catalyst for dismantling the prejudices faced by LGBT people. People on the pitch and in the stands. ,
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