Jake Daniels, the only professional UK male footballer who’s openly gay, has revealed how diver Tom Daley inspired him to come out.
In a new Channel 4 documentary, Out and Proud in Football, the 17-year-old Blackpool footballer opens up about his journey accepting his sexuality with fellow queer athlete Daley. Daniels explains that Daley’s 2021 Alternative Christmas message saying all it would take is if “one impossibly brave Premier League player steps forward and says: ‘I am gay’”, deeply impacted him.
“In football, being gay is a taboo – even now. So I had a choice, either live my life as a lie and carry on playing football or come out and have to quit,” Daniels explains in the documentary. I saw Tom talking on Channel 4 on Christmas Day. He spoke about homophobia in sport, and how amazing it would be and what a difference it would make if one brave player came out as gay.
“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.”