Czech football star Jakub Jankto comes out as gay in powerful video: ‘I no longer want to hide’

Jakub Jankto during a football match.

Czech Republic international football player Jakub Jankto has bravely come out as gay in a powerful video saying he wants to “live his life in freedom”.

The midfielder posted the already-viral clip on Monday (13 February) across social media of him courageously declaring his sexuality.

He is best known for playing with Sparta Prague, as well as in the Czech Republic national team.

“Like everybody else, I have my strengths, I have my weaknesses,” he said in the clip. “I have my family, I have my friends.

“I have a job, which I have been doing as best as I can for years with seriousness, professionalism, and passion.

“Like everybody else, I also want to live my life in freedom without fears, without prejudice, without violence, but with love.”

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The 27-year-old then told the world: “I am homosexual, and I no longer want to hide myself.”

His bravery to open up about his sexuality while playing in a sport that is notoriously homophobic was met with applause from across supportive football groups.

Jakub Jankto is called a ‘true inspiration’ for coming out

Several footballers, sporting figureheads and advocacy groups replied with hearts and messages of solidarity.

Professional referee Ryan Atkin replied to the post saying Jakub Jankto was “truly awesome” for coming out, adding that he would “inspire so many people”.

Additionally, the Premier League Twitter account wrote: “We’re with you Jakub. Football is for everyone.”

FIFA and the UEGA league itself also echoed those sentiments, saying Jankto is a “huge inspiration” for speaking his truth.

Advocacy group Sports Media LGBT+ also commended Jakub for his “uplifting” decision, while also stressing the importance of representation in the game.

Speaking to PinkNews, a spokesperson said: “We understand the power of personal storytelling and a moment like this for men’s football – a first active senior international player to come out publicly as gay or bi – is hugely significant.

“It’s worth reflecting on why this is headline news – the relatively slow progress on LGBTQ+ representation that we see in men’s team sports and how discriminatory language in locker rooms and on social media pushes gay and bi players further into the closet.

“Credit to Sparta Prague and Jakub’s teammates for creating a space in which he has felt comfortable and confident enough to conquer his fears.”

Jakub Jankto is the latest professional footballer to announce his sexuality publicly while the sport continues to be plagued by homophobia from so-called fans.

In 2021, Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo similarly came out as gay in a powerful social video, making him the only gay, top-flight male footballer in the world at the time.

Blackpool forward Jake Daniels became the UK’s first male pro-footballer to come out in more than 30 years in May 2022, aged just 17. Later in the year, Zander Murray became the first Scottish top-flight footballer to reveal that he is gay.

Murray made history again just last month by singing for Bonnyrigg Rose and becoming the first openly gay footballer in Scotland’s top four divisions.

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