Former Wales rugby team captain Gareth Thomas said he hopes British footballer Jake Daniels’ decision to come out as gay will help tackle homophobia in sport and give other LGBTQ+ athletes the courage to be open about their sexuality.
On Monday, 17-year-old Blackpool forward Daniels became the first active male British professional football player to announce he is gay since the late Justin Fashanu in 1990, in a sport still struggling to root out homophobia. “I hope the steps Jake has taken … go on to inspire other sportspeople to be their authentic selves, and that it helps sport to be more inclusive and drive out discrimination,” said Thomas, 47, who came out as gay in 2009.
Football governing bodies around the world have come under pressure to clean up the sport, with British players regularly facing racist and homophobic abuse from the stands.
Fashanu, who was Britain’s first million-pound ($1.24 million) Black player, came out late in his career. He died by suicide in 1998, aged 37.