Prince William Voices His Support After UK Footballer Makes Major Announcement

Despite being the world's most popular sport, soccer is still notoriously discriminatory. From widespread racism, homophobic chants, and controversy over gender pay disparities across men's and women's associations, soccer — or football, as it's known outside the U.S. — is often in the headlines for the wrong reasons. The problems aren't specific to a few countries or regions, with examples of discrimination taking place across Europe and Latin America, the two continents that dominate the sport. And England is no exception.

An avid soccer fan, Prince William often uses his voice to tackle the racism so frequently seen in his country. In July 2021, William denounced racist attacks directed at three Black English players after they missed penalty kicks. "We all have a responsibility to create an environment where such abuse is not tolerated, and those who choose to spread hate are held accountable for their actions," William wrote in a statement shared on Instagram.

English football is no more welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community. More than one-third of British soccer fans who identify as heterosexual would feel uncomfortable if they saw two men kissing at a game, a YouGov poll found, according to Gay Times. The same survey also found that most fans believe homophobia isn't an issue in soccer, even though England had no openly LGBTQ+ player in any of its professional leagues. That changed because Jake Daniels, a forward for Blackpool F.C., publicly came out as gay through the team's website on May 16. And Prince William is making his stance on the matter known. 

Prince William supports Jake Daniels' decision to come out

Jake Daniels (pictured in orange) made history on May 16, when he announced he was ready to embrace his identity on and off the field. "It's a step into the unknown being one of the first footballers in this country to reveal my sexuality," he wrote in a statement shared by Blackpool F.C. By coming out as gay, Daniels became the first professional British soccer player to do so in more than three decades, The Guardian noted. While he had very few examples to look up to in his country, Daniels said he was inspired by LGBTQ+ footballers in other countries and athletes from other sports, including Australian soccer player Josh Cavallo and British diver Tom Daly.

Among those celebrating Daniels's historic decision was Prince William, who took to social media to praise the young footballer. "Football should be a game for everyone," Prince William shared on The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's Twitter page. "What Jake has done takes courage and will hopefully help break down barriers that have no place in our society." William, who signed the statement, noted Daniels's coming out matters on a broader level. "I hope his decision to speak openly gives others the confidence to do the same," he concluded. 

William has shown support for the LGBTQ+ community before. In 2019, he stated he would stand by his children if they turn out to be gay, CNN reported. "I fully support whatever decision they make."