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Britain’s first openly gay footballer came out after watching video of Tom Daley

Britain’s first openly gay footballer came out after watching video of Tom Daley

He's the first openly gay British footballer in over 30 years.

It's no secret that coming out as a part of the LGBTQ+ community can be a nerve-wracking experience.

Now, Britain's first openly gay footballer has explained that he found the courage to live his truth after watching a video of Olympic diver, Tom Daley.

Jake Daniels, who is just 17, told The Sun that he was inspired by Daley, 28, after he saw the star discuss the problem of homophobia in football in his 2021 Christmas message.

His decision to subsequently come out was a landmark one, as after making his professional debut in May, he is now the first openly gay British footballer since Justin Fashanu, who came out back in 1990.

Daniels was particularly inspired by Daley's words after the openly LGBTQ+ diver told footballers in the community to be 'brave'.

"Think for a moment about the number of players too scared to speak up, and how lonely that must be," the Olympian said.

"Nearly 7 per cent of people in the UK identify as gay or bisexual… there are around 500 Premier League players. "Statistically, there are enough players for three football teams. At least one gay man at every club in the Premier League, living a lie."

Daniels added: "I watched that message over and over, and over again.

"Eventually with the support of my friends and family and support of Tom, I decided to come out."

Jake made football history by coming out.
Instagram / officialjakedaniels

Historically, homophobia has been viewed as rampant in the footballing world, so much so that it's even been described as a 'taboo' subject within the sport.

Thankfully, Daniels, who plays for Blackpool Football Club, was flooded with support after he came out in May, and he even received a message from then Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who called him an 'inspiration'.

Daniels wrote in his coming out message: "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. I can't really put a date on it, but I was probably five or six years old when I knew I was gay.

"So it's been a long time that I have been living with the lie.

"At that age, you don't really think that football and being gay doesn't mix. You just think, one day, when I'm older I'll get a girlfriend and I will change and it will be fine.

"But as you get older you realise you can't just change. It doesn't work like that."

Hats off to Jake. Hopefully, his bravery will pave the way for other footballers to live their truths.

Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports News / Channel 4

Topics: Sport, LGBTQ, Football