Tom Daley urges gay footballers to come out: 'I think people would be surprised how supported they'd be'

“It comes down to each individual person. At the time I individually felt ready, I did it. Everyone's been supportive,” the diver said of his own experience

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Tom Daley has voiced his encouragement for gay footballers to come out despite the homophobic stigma surrounding the sport.

If they were to do so,  the Olympic diver said, they would receive more praise than the prejudice and abuse that they would perhaps be expecting.

“I think people would be surprised how supported they'd be if they were to come out in a football environment,” he said at the Leaders in Sport conference in London.

“(But) you don't have to do a YouTube video and announce that you're straight. It shouldn't be anyone's business.

“You should just be able to live your life the way you want to live it.

“It comes down to each individual person. At the time I individually felt ready, I did it. Everyone's been really supportive.”

Daley, 20, announced on YouTube in December 2013 that he was "dating a guy". He said that discussing his decision to make the revelation via the video sharing site was pre-planned with his sporting sponsors to allow him to have full control of his own publicity.

 

“There were so many different opinions of what I should do, how I should do it,” he said. “A TV interview, a press interview, all those different ideas.

“YouTube just felt natural. I was able to say everything I wanted to say without being asked any extra questions.”

He is currently in a relationship with 40-year-old Hollywood screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.

Daley is set to travel to Kazan, Russia in 2015 to compete in the Aquatics World Championships, but says he has no plans to take a political stand against Putin’s anti-gay laws, despite having done so during the Sochi Winter Olympics earlier this year.

Video: Tom Daley speaking about his relationship in May

“I have no concerns whatsoever about going to Russia,” he added.

“I've been there five, six times before and never had any problems.

“You go there to dive, you don't go there thinking about doing anything other than that.

“For me, I wouldn't go there thinking 'oh, I'm going to do this' or 'I have to do this'. I just go there and focus on my performance.”

Comments