Jack Grealish praises ‘courage’ of gay footballer Jake Daniels: ‘It’s a massive step forward’

Manchester City star Jack Grealish has applauded fellow footballer Jake Daniels’ courageous decision to come out publicly as gay.

The midfielder who also plays for the England national team heaped praise on Daniels, saying it represents a “massive step forward for football”.

“I think it shows a lot of courage,” Grealish says in an interview with Sky Sports. “You know, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think there’s anyone that disagrees with that. I think it’s absolutely brilliant.”

Jake Daniels, who plays forward for Blackpool, publicly announced he was gay earlier this week in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports. He is the first professional British men’s footballer to do so while still actively playing since Justin Fashanu in 1990. Fashanu tragically died by suicide in 1998 after years of relentless racism and homophobia.

“I told my mum and my sister,” Daniels told Sky Sports. “The day after, we played Accrington and I scored four, so it just shows how much of a weight off the shoulders it was.”

Grealish commended the footballer’s decision as a “massive step forward” and referenced Australian footballer Josh Cavallo’s coming out story as a possible inspiration for Daniels.

“There was a guy that was playing in Australia, I think it was, in the A-League that [had] come out, and I hope that pushed Jake Daniels to think, ‘You know what, I can as well,'” Grealish says.

Josh Cavallo made headlines around the world when he came out on Instagram in October 2021. He explained he was “tired of living a double life” in a pre-recorded video. The Australian star said earlier this week he is “proud” of Daniels and that it’s a “wonderful feeling” to have helped him make the decision to come out.

A plethora of footballers, celebrities, and fans came out in support of Daniels, including Ian McKellen and Prince William, praising him for the “courage” in coming out to the country.

The Duke of Cambridge tweeted his support, saying “football should be a game for everyone” and that his effort “takes courage and will hopefully help break down barriers that have no place in our society.”

“Fingers crossed for everyone that [this] can be a big step forward, because like we touched on, you know, football is for absolutely everyone,” Grealish added.