Jake Daniels’ teammate apologises for homophobic posts after footballer comes out as gay

Jake Daniels' teammate apologises for homophobic posts after footballer becomes first to come out in 30 years

Blackpool FC defender Marvin Ekpiteta has apologised for historic homophobic posts after his teammate Jake Daniels came out as gay.

Jake Daniels, who also plays for Blackpool FC, came out in an interview for Sky Sports on Monday (16 May), becoming the first active male pro in the UK to come out since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

Following a swell of support for Daniels from celebrities, footballers, and fans alike, homophobic posts made by Ekpiteta between 2012 and 2013 surfaced, including one of clapping emojis at the news that Nigeria had outlawed same-sex marriage in 2013.

Posting an apology on Twitter after deleting the posts, Ekpiteta, 26, said he was “embarrassed by the comments I made as a 17-year-old” and that they “do not in any way reflect the values I hold now”.

“Today, social media posts I made in 2012 and 2013 have been highlighted,” he said.

“I want to wholeheartedly apologise for the offensive and completely inappropriate language I used, and for the sentiments I expressed…

“Yesterday, I was proud of Jake and all involved at Blackpool FC for what is a hugely positive moment for football as a whole.

“Football needs to be a place where everyone can feel free to be true to themselves, and I am upset that the comments I previously made suggest otherwise.

“I take full responsibility for these posts, and I am sorry.”

Jake Daniels, 17, said Blackpool FC has been “absolutely amazing” since he came out, and that he’s “felt safe” sharing his authentic self with his teammates.

He added that he hoped by coming out he could “be a role model” and help “others come out if they want to”.

“I am only 17 but I am clear that this is what I want to do and if, by me coming out, other people look at me and feel maybe they can do it as well, that would be brilliant,” he said.

Celebrities including actor Ian McKellen and Prince William have praised Jake Daniels’ “courage” in coming out to the country.

The Duke of Cambridge, who is the president of the Football Association, tweeted his support, saying that “football should be a game for everyone.”

He wrote: “What Jake has done takes courage and will hopefully help break down barriers that have no place in our society.

“I hope his decision to speak openly gives others the confidence to do the same.”