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Blackpool striker Jake Daniels nominated for diversity award following decision to come out as gay

LancsLive logo LancsLive 29/06/2022 Sean Mcginlay
Blackpool's Jake Daniels. © Lee Parker - CameraSport via Getty Images Blackpool's Jake Daniels.

Blackpool youngster Jake Daniels has been nominated for the Celebrity of the year award at the National Diversity Awards.

The 17-year-old made the brave step of coming out as gay, becoming the first active male professional footballer since Justin Fashanu in 1990 to do so. Daniels received plaudits from across the footballing and wider world with the likes of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and singer Elton John hailing his courage.

Daniels features among esteemed company on the shortlist with rapper Stormzy and former athlete Dame Kelly Holmes also featuring on the list for the award sponsored by ITV News.

READ MORE: Blackpool striker Jake Daniels becomes only openly gay active male professional footballer in the UK

"Absolutely over the moon to have been nominated. Absolutely crazy," the striker said on social media following the announcement.

Daniels came out in an interview with Sky Sports, with Blackpool being commended for the manner in which they dealt with the situation in forming an environment where a player felt comfortable to come out to his teammates. Off the back of an incredible goalscoring campaign with the youth side, Daniels signed a professional contract before making his first-team debut in the 5-0 defeat to Peterborough United on the final day of the 2021/22 Championship season.

"Now is the right time to do it. I feel like I am ready to tell people my story. I want people to know the real me," Daniels said during his announcement interview in May.

"I have been thinking for a long time about how I want to do it, when I want to do it. I know now is the time. I am ready to be myself, be free and be confident with it all. I can't really put a date on it, but I was probably five or six years old when I knew I was gay. So it's been a long time that I have been living with the lie.

"At that age you don't really think that football and being gay doesn't mix. You just think, one day, when I'm older I'll get a girlfriend and I will change and it will be fine. But as you get older you realise you can't just change. It doesn't work like that."

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