On the Leinster website, scrum half Nick McCarthy announced on Monday that he was gay. He specifies that he had warned his teammates in January.
“I was quite nervous, but I’m glad I did it, he indicates. It’s not common for a male athlete to come out, and it’s probably something I didn’t want to believe or accept myself either. I had a hard time coming out and it was starting to affect my happiness, so I think it was the right decision. I only made a quick announcement (in front of his teammates). But I just remember the reaction of the room. They were all thrilled for me and I was immediately relieved. I felt they understood my situation. It’s hard to give your best when you’re wearing something. »
The player explains that he thought about quitting rugby for a while: “It affected me so much that I wondered about my future. I considered stepping away from rugby altogether. I just didn’t think I could come out and keep playing. »
“I spoke to Leo (Cullen) and Stuart (Lancaster) last November and the support I got from them straight away was amazing”
But McCarthy, who has played 12 matches this season (including 3 starts), assures that the support he has received within his club – in particular from his coaches – has reassured him. “I spoke to Leo (Cullen) and Stuart (Lancaster) last November and the support they immediately gave me was amazing. They helped and guided me over the next few months to make me feel more comfortable about coming out to the group. »
The Leinster player also says he has been helped by the announcement of other professional athletes in recent months: “I wasn’t sure I wanted to come out publicly. But watching Carl Nassib (American football player) or Josh Cavallo (Australian footballer) doing it, or watching Jack Dunne speak publicly about his bisexuality last year, helped me a lot. I was able to discuss with them and they encouraged me. In turn, I feel that if I can help other professional athletes to come out and make being gay more normal, it will be positive. »
McCarthy’s announcement was met with an outpouring of messages of sympathy from across Irish rugby.