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Jake Daniels on homophobic locker-room banter: ‘It doesn’t really phase me’

"I know it’s not intentional," the 18-year-old striker has said.

By Alastair James

Jake Daniels
Jake Daniels on homophobic language in football (Image" The Seasiders/Instagram/@officialjakedaniels)

Jake Daniels says he isn’t phased by the occasional use of homophobic language in the football changing rooms at Blackpool FC.

Last year, the 18-year-old striker became the first British footballer to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in the 1990s.

Speaking to GQ in a new interview, Daniels indicated that his Blackpool teammates are prone to the occasional slip-up of homophobic language.

Daniels said: “If [a word] does slip out now by someone at the club, they’ll be like, ‘Oh god, sorry’.”

Asked if he’s uncomfortable with such casual language, Daniels continued: “It doesn’t really phase me to be honest. I know it’s not intentional. I’m not the type of person to get all annoyed at it. If it was an opponent, it would [feel more] meaningful.”

Daniels came out last year. In an interview with Sky, the then 17-year-old said he felt ready to be himself after “such a long time of lying” about his identity.

He followed the examples set by Josh Cavallo, an Australian player who came out as gay in October 2021. Jake Daniels himself cited Cavallo as an inspiration.

Speaking to Attitude at the Attitude Awards last year Cavallo hinted at plans to improve inclusivity in football as well as sport.

“We’ve got a long way to go. But I’m so happy to start there and influence the world for the better.”

In his documentary series, Rio Ferdinand’s Tipping Point, Rio Ferdinand was educated on the reality of locker room ‘banter’. He imagined himself as a player wanting to come out in what can feel like an accepting culture.

“And then one person could say one comment and that stops me from coming out. And so the culture and the language is hugely important.”