Dec 22, 2009, 1:00 PM EDT
The latest pro athlete to come out is … a Welsh rugby player? I don’t know why I’m so surprised that English National team and Cardiff Blues winger Gareth Thomas is gay; is it just because he doesn’t look the stereotype? That’s rather shallow of me. Anyway, it wasn’t such a secret to his teammates over the past three seasons, but now the world knows. And it’s a rather brave move on his part, I must say. But what have been the general repurcussions of coming out in such a manly sport?
From the London Daily Mail:
Since that confession to his closest circle of friends three years ago, Gareth says his team-mates at his club, the Cardiff Blues, now know – and apparently don’t care.
Today, however, he has taken the remarkable decision to go public. It’s his choice. No one has forced his hand.
“I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to let people know, and, to be honest, I feel anxious about people’s reactions and the effect it might have on my family.
“It’s been really tough for me, hiding who I really am, and I don’t want it to be like that for the next young person who wants to play rugby, or some frightened young kid.
“Sometimes I felt so alone and depressed. I’ve stood on so many cliff edges.”
“If anything, rugby was my saviour. On the pitch I could forget who I was, escape all the confusion,” says Gareth, who retired from international rugby in 2007 but plans to continue playing with the Cardiff Blues for as long as he can.
Now the question is, when is an American pro athlete going to come out? Several have done so following retirement, but no one currently playing in a major pro sport in the U.S. has admitted to being gay.
Interesting, since Esera Tuaolo, a defensive lineman in the ’90s who came out after retiring from the NFL, told the Kansas City Star that there are at least 10 gay players currently in the NFL.
“I don’t want to be known as a gay rugby player. I am a rugby player first and foremost. I am a man,” Thomas said. “I’d love for it, in ten years’ time, not to even be an issue in sport, and for people to say: ‘So what?’ “
Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas comes out [Outsports]
British Lions rugby legend Gareth Thomas: ‘It’s ended my marriage and nearly driven me to suicide. Now it’s time to tell the world the truth – I’m gay’ [London Daily Mail]
Pro sports lacing in gay tolerance [Chicago Now]
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