Tom Daley to Wish for Out British Soccer Player on 'Alternative Christmas Message'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday December 21, 2021

Openly gay Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley knows what he wants for Christmas: An out Premier League soccer champ. That's to be the substance of Daley's "Alternative Christmas Message."

Daley will declare his "one Christmas wish" to be that "one impossibly brave Premier League player steps forward and says, 'I am gay'" in the course of the next year, Metro said.

As part of his address, Daley will contrast his experience in diving to that of soccer pros, "saying that he feels 'incredibly lucky' that diving has supported him to live publicly as a gay man," Metro detailed.

Daley has delivered that part of the message before, most recently at the Dec. 19 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards where, the Mirror reported, Daley "spoke of the importance of inclusivity and accessibility to sport for all people".

The Huffington Post reported that "the knitting-obsessed Olympic diver was announced as the star of the annual broadcast," and as such he will be "following in the footsteps of greats like Danny Dyer, Ali G and Marge Simpson."

Channel 4 lost no time sharing the news with the world at large, posting about Daley's upcoming message on Twitter.

The brief annual message has been aired by the UK's Channel 4 each Christmas Day since 1993, when the inaugural "Queen's Message" was delivered by Quentin Crisp, Wikipedia recalls. The clip is intended as a semi-parodic riff on the Christmas Message that is televised by Queen Elizabeth II every year, and, Wikipedia notes, is delivered "in the manner of Her Majesty."

Though Britain has no publicly out top-flight soccer players, at least one such footballer — as soccer players are known in Britain — has spoken with an LGBTQ+ advocate and revealed that he is so afraid of being attacked by fans that he's staying in the closet.

As of now, only one active Premier League footballer in all the world is out of the closet and on the pitch: 22-year-old Australian star Josh Cavallo came out this past October, and was promptly embraced by fans and teammates alike.

Cavallo was even embraced by soccer officials in the notoriously anti-LGBTQ+ country of Qatar, where next year's World Cup soccer championship is slated to take place.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.