Jake Daniels has shown his support for Blackpool teammate Marvin Ekpiteta after the defender issued a public apology for historic homophobic tweets.
Daniels became the first active gay footballer in Britain since Justin Fashanu in 1990 when he bravely came out in an announcement on Monday. The teenage forward has been widely celebrated in the football community and beyond, and cited Adelaide United star Josh Cavallo as an inspiration for his decision to go public.
Daniels gave an exclusive interview to Sky Sports News and released a club statement to fans, outlining how he is now 'ready to come out and be myself'. The 17-year-old revealed he had "hated lying my whole life" and wanted to be a role model by taking the "step into the unknown".
However, Daniels' teammate Ekpiteta has since been subject to scrutiny for social media posts he shared in 2012 and 2013 as a teenager. The now 26-year-old has deleted the offensive comments after they resurfaced, and released a public apology.
Daniels replied to the social media apology on Wednesday afternoon, and showed his support for his teammate. The teenager wrote: "What you said ten years ago at 17 years old doesn’t define the man you are today. I am proud to be your teammate and to be part of the Blackpool family – we are all moving football forwards together."
Ekpiteta described Daniels' decision to come out publicly as a 'hugely positive moment for football as a whole', and admitted his embarrassment at the historic tweets he shared as a teenager. The defender insists the content of the posts does not reflect his current values, and stressed the need for football to 'be a place where everyone can feel free to be true to themselves'.
Ekpiteta's full apology reads: "Today, social media posts I made in 2012 and 2013 have been highlighted. I want to wholeheartedly apologise for the offensive and completely inappropriate language I used, and for the sentiments I expressed
“As a footballer, and in the years spent in work before I became a professional player, I’ve been fortunate to have worked with a wide and diverse range of people. Throughout this period, I have developed and grown as a person. Yesterday, I was proud of Jake and all involved at Blackpool FC for what is a hugely positive moment for football as a whole.
“I am embarrassed by the comments I made as a 17-year-old, nearly a decade ago, which do not in any way reflect the values I hold now or the beliefs I have as a person or as a team-mate. 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.”
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