The story of Jake Daniels & the power of creating a supportive, inclusive working environment
Recently, Blackpool football player Jake Daniels became the first active professional player in British men's football to come out publicly as gay since Justin Fashanu, ending decades of silence within the men’s game.
He said he has received "amazing support" from his teammates after telling them about his sexuality, as well as feeling ready to "be myself" after "such a long time of lying" about who he is.
The striker said he originally felt the need to hide his sexuality to become a professional footballer and wait until he was retired to come out. However, he discussed how "I just knew that was just such a long time of just lying and not being able to have what I want."
Paul Dewick Day, from Pride Blackpool, said Jake Daniels was "100% a role model for young people". He added the "phenomenal community" had already shown much support for Daniels. "Hopefully this will be a springboard as there has always been a stigma in sport, particularly in football, even though clubs are supportive," he said.
While women’s football features many prominent LGBTQ+ players, the men’s professional game lacks players who are publicly gay. This is likely due to the stigma which Paul and Jake Daniels describe, keeping male footballers quiet. The female game is a much more accepting and open environment, and men’s football and wider society can learn from this.
Blackpool Football Club who are the employer of Jake, have been incredibly supportive of his decision to come out whilst still an active professional football player for their club.
They had this to say: "Blackpool Football Club has worked closely with Stonewall and the relevant footballing organisations to support Jake and is incredibly proud that he has reached a stage where he is empowered to express himself both on-and-off the pitch.
"It is vital that we all promote an environment where people feel comfortable to be themselves, and that football leads the way in removing any form of discrimination and prejudice."
We absoltuely echo this here at Protest ES Ltd, we could not agree more that it is important to celebrate individuals such as Jake Daniels, both during Pride Month and permanently. This as a show of support and solidarity for the entire LGBTQ+ community, UK wide and globally.