Justin Fashanu: who was first openly gay male footballer before Blackpool's Jake Daniels, and cause of death?

Jake Daniels recently became the only openly gay male professional footballer currently playing in the UK - with Justin Fashanu before him.

The 17-year-old, who plays for Blackpool, revealed the news to Sky Sports and now feels ‘free’ for doing so.

He said: "Now is the right time to do it. I feel like I am ready to tell people my story."

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Daniels recently signed his first professional contract with the Seadsiders and has netted 30 goals for their Under-18s this season.

The forward added:"Since I’ve come out to my family, my club and my team-mates, that period of overthinking everything - and the stress it created - has gone. It was impacting my mental health. Now I am just confident and happy to be myself finally.

"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."

The 17-year-old has recieved support from Harry Kane and several clubs in the Premier League for coming out and is the first openly gay male player in the UK’s professional game since Justin Fashanu came out in 1990.

Who is Justin Fashanu?

Fashanu had an interesting career, spending time in England, Australia, the United States, Canada, Scotland, Sweden and New Zealand and featured for 22 clubs.

He also represented England at Under-21 level between 1980 and 1982, making 11 appearances and scoring five goals.

The former forward also became the most expensive black footballer in 1981, joining Nottingham Forest from Norwich City for £1m.

Coming out

Fashanu came out as gay in October 1990 in an interview with The Sun. The aftermath of this was substantial, with John, Justin’s brother, calling him an ‘outcast’ for doing so.

In an interview with talkSPORT in 2012, John claimed Justin wasn’t gay and instead “just wanted attention”

Cause of death

Justin died in May 1998 at the age of 37, after commiting suicide. The former forward was accused of sexual assault by a 17-year-old in America, while at Fashanu’s apartment.

He left the United States and was found dead on May 3 in a garage in London.

In his suicide note Fashanu claimed the sexual act was consensual and the reason he went back to England was due to him feeling he wouldn’t receive a fair trial in America, due to his sexuality.

At the time in Maryland, the location of the alleged sexual assault, homesexuality was illegal.