Amal Fashanu, niece of former footballer Justin, has come out in support of Jake Daniels. The 17-year-old Blackpool forward came out as homosexual on Monday and Fashanu hopes that it will help others to do the same.
Amal, 33, is an activist for gay rights and has advocated to help gay footballers over the years. Her 2012 documentary ‘Britain’s Gay Footballers’ helped lift the lid on the matter and in 2016, she said that she knows of seven gay footballers. Daniels is the first openly gay footballer in the United Kingdom since Justin Fashanu did so in 1990.
The abuse he received thereafter was part of the reason he tragically ended up dying of suicide, aged just 37. Amal told the Press News Agency that this could be a big deal for gay footballers everywhere, in quotes carried by The Independent.
“The impact of (Daniels) coming out will be huge. Even though he’s young, this is starting the road map. Now it’s a case of waiting to see how everyone reacts. When he’s playing, will everyone boo him? What’s going to happen?”
“Putting myself in their shoes, and the fact that I do know gay footballers in the Premier League, let’s put it this way – if I was them I would definitely wait.”
“Sometimes I just think football is a dark world, and (Daniels coming out) is just showing a bit of light,” she added.
Daniels’ case follows on from Australian footballer Josh Cavallo, who until then was the only openly gay footballer still playing. There’s hope that Daniels’ decision will pave the way to further steps forward for the gay community working in football.