Thanks for your leadership, Jake Daniels: a gay man and professional footballer | Barney Ronay

The young Blackpool forward has shown remarkable strength to take this step – he deserves the freedom now just to playWell played, Jake Daniels. Applause, please. And thank you for your leadership. Football, sport, male environments and, indeed, the wider world have all become slightly more sane places with the news that Daniels has decided to discuss publicly the fact that he is not only a professional footballer but a gay man.The first part of this is, of course, not remarkable. The second part is. To those unfamiliar with football’s internal workings it might seen genuinely loopy that this should even be news, that a trailblazer is required, and indeed that this should turn out to be a teenager who made his debut for Blackpool two weeks ago. But make no mistake this is both a remarkable moment for men’s professional football and a sterling show of courage from a 17‑year‑old, yet to establish himself in his industry; but unwilling, as he says, “to pretend”.

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