Czech Republic's international pro soccer—football to most the world—star Jakub Jankto came out as gay in a powerful video posted across his social media platforms on Monday.
The 27-year-old, who plays as a midfielder for Czech First League club Sparta Prague and is on loan from La Liga club Getafe, became the first active senior international in men's football to declare himself a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
"Hi, I'm Jakub Jankto," he began in his announcement video showing him illuminated in a darkened room.
"Like everybody else, I have my strengths, I have my weaknesses."
"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."
He continued to express a desire for the way many of us want to lead our lives.
“Like everybody else, I also want to live my life in freedom without fears, without prejudice, without violence, but with love.”
"I am homosexual, and I no longer want to hide myself.”
You can watch the clip, below.
The video concluded with a message indicating:
"This is not an entertainment."
"The purpose of this video is to encourage others."
People on social media praised the active star football player for his bravery and fortitude in coming out–especially as a player in a sport that is notoriously homophobic.
The International Association Football Federation and the Premier League offered their support, saying:
"Football is for everyone."
Jankto continued receiving support from football clubs and fellow athletes from around the world.
Many expressed love and football were not mutually exclusive.
Jankto was previously in a relationship with model Marketa Ottomanska, with whom he has a son.
The couple separated in 2021.
A spokesperson described the positive impact of Jankto's announcement and told Pink News:
“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."
In October 2021, Australian professional footballer Josh Cavallo became the first man active in pro football to be open about being gay since English pro footballer Justin Fashanu publicly shared he was gay in 1990.
Blackpool forward Jake Daniels came out as gay and became the only male UK player in May 2022 to be out at the time since Fashanu.
Daniels cited Cavallo, Thetford Town manager Matt Morton and diver Tom Daley for helping him through the process of coming out publicly.
Pro footballers like Jankto coming out is commendable not only for their courage but also for serving as role models for closeted players who often feel isolated by their teammates.
This is why spreading LGBTQ+ awareness and visibility in the sport is imperative in helping to shatter harmful homophobic stereotypes.
It also reinforces the fact that these players can achieve further success as a team when united in their passion on the field regardless of their sexual identity.
Indeed, football is for everyone.