<p>Royal praises footballer’s courage </p>

Royal praises footballer’s courage

Prince William praises footballer Jake Daniels’ ‘courage’ for coming out

‘I hope his decision to speak openly gives others the confidence to do the same,’ royal says

Saman Javed
Tuesday 17 May 2022 16:01
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The Duke of Cambridge has praised football player Jake Daniels for publicly coming out as gay.

In a post shared to Twitter on Tuesday 17 May, Prince William hailed the Blackpool FC forward’s courage and said he hopes the athlete’s announcement will help tackle stigmas around sexuality.

“Football should be a game for everyone,” William said.

“What Jake has done takes courage and will hopefully help break down barriers that have no place in our society.”

“I hope his decision to speak openly gives others the confidence to do the same.”

Daniels, who recently signed his first professional contract after scoring 30 goals last season for the youth team, shared a statement via the club on Monday 16 May.

“Off the pitch I’ve been hiding the real me and who I really am,” he said.

“I’ve known my whole life that I’m gay, and I now feel that I’m ready to come out and be myself.

“It’s a step into the unknown being one of the first footballers in this country to reveal my sexuality, but I’ve been inspired by Josh Cavallo, Matt Morton and athletes from other sports, like Tom Daley, to have the courage and determination to drive change.”

Daniels said he had confided in his team-mates in the youth team, and that they had embraced the news and supported his decision to go public.

“I’ve hated lying my whole life and feeling the need to change to fit in. I want to be a role model myself by doing this,” he continued.

“There are people out there in the same space as me that may not feel comfortable revealing their sexuality.

“I just want to tell them that you don’t have to change who you are, or how you should be, just to fit in. You being you, and being happy, is what matters most.”

The 17-year-old, who is the first male footballer to come out in the UK since Justin Fashanu in 1990, has received widespread praise.

The Fans for Diversity campaign, a partnership between the Football Supporters’ Association and Kick It Out, which aims to ensure that all fans feels welcome, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender identity or sexuality, described Daniels’ coming out as a “liberation”.

“We are going to see the community come together and support him,” said Anwar Uddin, head of the Fans for Diversity campaign.

“The level of support shown on social media is not a surprise to me, it shows me where we’re at.

“The vast majority of football fans and the football community are supportive of anything of this nature. It’s a great opportunity to showcase that.”

In 2019, a YouGov survey of 1,010 heterosexual football fans commissioned by Gay Times, found that just 30 per cent would feel comfortable seeing two men kiss during a football game.

Almost half said they would like to see more representation of LGBT+ people across all levels of the game, including players and managers, while 69 per cent felt that the Football Association should do more to prevent homophobia in football in the UK.

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