The Duke of Cambridge said Blackpool FC forward Daniels could serve as an inspiration to other players to be their true selves. Prince William shared his hope the footballer’s gesture will “give the confidence” to other athletes who wish to do the same in a message he published on Twitter.
The tweet, shared by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s official account Kentish Royal, read: “Football should be a game for everyone.
“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.”
To stress he was the one who penned the statement, the Duke signed it off with his initial.
The Duke’s tweet, sent as the President of the FA Cup, was welcomed by many royal fans.
One Twitter user, named Toria, wrote: “Thank you. I hope yourself as President and the rest of the FA continue to foster an open supportive culture for any more players who want to live their true selves”.
Another, Belle, wrote: “Thank you for the public support for Jake!”
And Samantha tweeted: “The #DukeandDuchessofCambridge always kind. Wonderful examples!”
This isn’t the first time Prince William speaks about important issues related to football.
In 2020, he championed HeadsUp, a campaign aimed at making conversations surrounding mental health among men as mainstream as football chatter.
And he spoke out against racism in the sport on multiple occasions.
William’s poignant message comes one day after Daniels issued a powerful statement shared on Blackpool FC’s website.
After acknowledging this football season had been fantastic for his professional life, Daniels opened up on his sexuality.
He said: “Off the pitch I’ve been hiding the real me and who I really am.
“I’ve known my whole life that I’m gay, and I now feel that I’m ready to come out and be myself.”
Following his statement, the Championship club forward became the first professional in the UK men’s game to come out while still playing in more than three decades.
The only other openly gay professional footballer currently is Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo, who came out last October.
Daniels went on to say he came to the decision to come out to the wider world after receiving support and advice from his family, his club, his agent and Stonewall – a leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity in the UK.
The footballer also said to have opened up about his sexuality with his teammates in the Blackpool youth team.
He added: “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.
“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.”
Daniels’ announcement drew instant reaction from commentators, colleagues and even the Prime Minister.
Boris Johnson tweeted on Monday, May 16: “Thank you for your bravery Jake. It would have taken huge courage to come out and you will be an inspiration to many both on and off the pitch.”
England captain Harry Kane was one of the many footballers who praised Daniels for his statement.
He wrote on Twitter: “Massive credit to you @Jake_Daniels11 and the way your friends, family, club, and captain have supported you. Football should be welcoming for everyone.”
Former England striker and commentator Gary Lineker said “many others will follow” Daniels.
He added: “Once they see that the overwhelming majority of people will be accepting, others will follow suit.”