Blackpool defender Marvin Ekpiteta has issued a public apology following the emergence of historic homophobic social media posts after his team-mate Jake Daniels came out as gay. The teenage forward came out on Monday, becoming the first openly gay active footballer to do so since Justin Fashanu in 1990.
Daniel’s announcement and subsequent interview were widely celebrated by the football community and beyond, with the 17-year-old praised for his bravery. However, posts made by team-mate Ekipiteta from 2012 and 2013 including homophobic comments have since resurfaced.
The posts were made when the defender was a teenager, and the now 26-year-old has deleted the posts and published an apology for the comments made almost a decade ago. Ekpiteta admits he was ’embarrassed’ by the contents of the posts, and insists football ‘needs to be a place where everyone can feel free to be true to themselves’.
The defender released a statement on Twitter which read: “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.”
Daniels confirmed he was inspired to make his announcement by Adelaide United’s Josh Cavallo, the only current top-flight male professional footballer to come out as gay. The Australian has admitted it is a ‘wonderful feeling’ to hear his decision had helped the Blackpool teenager to come out publicly.
Cavallo told the Guardian: “I want to stop and take a moment to acknowledge Jake’s announcement and say how very proud I am for his bravery. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that my story has helped guide Jake to be his true self.
“It’s touching to see the millions of people that my story has impacted and inspired around the world, and to see it help evolve the world game at all levels, is fantastic. This world and the game of football has a place for everyone. Love will always win.”