Earlier this week the 17-year-old Blackpool player came out to the footballing world and was met with plenty of support and acceptance from many big-names within the game
Blackpool’s Marvin Ekpiteta has apologised to teammate Jake Daniels for historical homophobic posts that emerged just days after his colleague came out.
On Monday Daniels, aged 17, became the first professional footballer in more than 30 years to come out whilst still playing. His historic statement won plaudits from the footballing fraternity worldwide. But just a day later tweets posted by Ekpiteta on social media from 2012 and 2013 re-surfaced. Now, the 26-year-old has “wholeheartedly apologised” for the comments and to Daniels.
In a lengthy post, he wrote: “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.”
Ekpiteta says he has since deleted the posts which he said he had been “highlighted to” on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Blackpool goalkeeper Chris Maxwell has spoken of his pride he has in his young colleague after his brave decision to go public.
Speaking to Blackpool’s website Maxwell said: “From coaching Jake a few times last season and sharing a dressing room and pitch with him, he’s a bright, honest young man with bags of potential. He has performed really well this season and he is always willing to learn and develop. Jake’s announcement on Monday has publicly shown his character and how brave such a young man can be.
“It’s testament to him as a person. He should be so proud of the bravery and courage he has shown, which will no doubt inspire and encourage others. As for here at the club, we want to make sure that Jake has an environment where he can thrive both on and off the pitch. Our fans are also the most supportive I’ve come across in my career to date and they will certainly show Jake the same level of support.”
Daniels, who made his senior Blackpool debut as a substitute on the final day of the Championship season, announced his news during a feature-length interview to Sky Sports News . “For a long time I’ve thought I would have to hide my truth because I wanted to be, and now I am, a professional footballer,” he said.
“I asked myself if I should wait until I’ve retired to come out. No other player in the professional game here is out. However, I knew that would lead to a long time of lying and not being able to be myself or lead the life that I want to.”