The footballing world has come together in support of Blackpool’s Jake Daniels, who came out publicly as gay earlier this week.
The 17-year-old has an army of fellow professionals, fans and other celebrities praising his bravery through a flurry of positive comments on social media.
Daniels is the first professional male footballer in the UK to come out since Justin Fashanu in 1990, and the support behind him is astronomical.
Prominent figures in men’s football including Gary Lineker and Harry Kane applauded the teenager after making the announcement on Monday, with help from Blackpool, Sky Sports and LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall.
Daniels has also received huge support from the women’s football community – a place known for actively encouraging equality in sexuality and gender identity.
One figure who praised Daniels was Chelsea and Denmark star Pernille Harder, who described the Blackpool ace as “brave and brilliant” in a recent tweet.
“Going out today will be liberating for you and for football fans around the world who will be inspired to open [up] on their identity as well. Huge respect. I wish you all the best !”
Jake, you are brave and brilliant. Coming out today will be liberating for you and for football fans around the world who will also be inspired to open up about who they are. Huge respect. I wish you all the best ! ❤️ https://t.co/hgNEup81M7
— Pernille Harder (@PernilleMHarder) May 16, 2022
Daniels came out to his family the day before Blackpool played Accrington in an Under-18 game in January. During the match, he scored four goals.
In his own words, Daniels said he “didn’t have to worry” about the reaction he was going to get from his family and friends.
A message from Jake Daniels. https://t.co/R2wEsniXKV pic.twitter.com/dcznYKtSaD
— Blackpool FC (@BlackpoolFC) May 16, 2022
Harder’s teammate and partner Magdalena Eriksson echoed that sentiment and highlighted how being yourself can do wonders for all aspects of your life.
“Coming out takes strength and courage and doing it in the public arena is not easy,” wrote the Chelsea skipper. “The fact that Jake scored four goals after hanging out with his family perfectly shows how liberating it is to be yourself.”
Coming out takes strength and courage and doing so in the public arena is not easy. The fact that Jake scored four goals after hanging out with his family perfectly shows how liberating it is to be yourself. Congratulations @Jake_Daniels11. I feel so happy for you today 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ https://t.co/KmCTgZIhOW
— Magdalena Eriksson (@MagdaEricsson) May 16, 2022
Both Chelsea stars have been active voices for the LGBTQ+ community for several years now. During the 2019 World Cup, a famous photo thrust the couple into the spotlight, and they discussed their platforms as role models for other queer people.
The photo showed a celebratory kiss shared between the two women after Eriksson helped Sweden reach the quarter-finals of the tournament.
UEFA Player of the Year @PernilleMHarder and his partner Magdalena Eriksson made headlines for this kiss in 2019.
🎬 In 𝗢𝗨𝗧𝗥𝗔𝗚𝗘𝗗, Harder and other A-list stars discuss the homophobic, sexist, and racist abuse they’ve suffered, and why it needs to stop.#EqualGame
— UEFA (@UEFA) December 30, 2020
The couple discussed the impact of the image, which saw them gain 20,000 new social media followers.
“A lot of people were watching us and were happy to see that people could be open,” Eriksson said. “If you’re two girls in love, or a girl and a boy, or two boys, it doesn’t matter, that’s the message we wanted to share.
“It was a complete coincidence that the photo was taken, but it ended up being a very beautiful thing.”
Other Women’s Super League stars joined the Chelsea duo in congratulating Daniels. Wales international Natasha Harding said the striker’s “brave and courage will give hope to so many people” and stressed he had “so much love and support” behind him.
You already have so much love and support behind you ❤️.
Your bravery and courage will give hope to so many people, to hopefully go out and be themselves one day ❤️.
We all salute you Jake. #FootballisForEveryone https://t.co/RhbEacvtgx
— Tash Harding (@tashharding09) May 16, 2022
“Bigest respect to this young man for having the courage to be himself,” said former Arsenal and Chelsea icon Anita Asante.
“I can’t wait for the day when people can be openly themselves, but until that day people like Jake will I’m sure help so many people.”
The greatest respect to this young man for having the courage to be himself! I can’t wait for the day when people can be openly themselves, but until that day comes, people like Jake will, I’m sure, help so many people. https://t.co/i2sUZJ1KcZ
— Anita Asante (@NicenNeetz) May 16, 2022
At such a young age, Daniels marked a milestone for LGBTQ+ people in men’s football and hopefully this can be the start of creating a more welcoming and accepting environment.
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