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Gay rugby star Keegan Hirst says closeted athletes shouldn’t be forced to come out

Joe Williams December 23, 2015
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The rugby ace has criticised those who are putting pressure on football players to come out.

Keegan Hirst has spoken out against those who are trying to “force” football players to come out of the closet.

Hirst, 27, became one of the first players in his sport to open up about his sexuality – and his battle with the “macho” image of Rugby League – in a revealing interview with the the Sunday Mirror.

Gay rugby star Keegan Hirst says closeted athletes shouldn’t be forced to come out

He also became the first British Rugby League player to take to the pitch as an out gay man, receiving an overwhelmingly positive reaction from fans and fellow players alike.

However, Hirst says that although he has received massive support since coming out – inspiring thousands of gay men to do the same – he thinks it is unfair to put pressure on other gay athletes to go public.

“I don’t think it’s fair to try and force it. A person, whoever they are, can only come out when they want to,” he told

“They’ll feel the same as anybody else does before they come out.

“But if a regular guy has 100 people to come out to, to be possibly rejected by, footballers have 50,000 people who they feel may reject them,” he added.

“I think only when they’re totally comfortable with their situation will you get a footballer who publicly comes out.”

He was responding to rumours that two gay football players in the English Premier League are on the cusp of coming out.

Since the story was released, the media speculation surrounding ‘gay’ footballers has reached fever pitch – with numerous players across the world forced to deny they are in the closet.

Last month, a French TV host claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo was in a relationship with his close friend, Badr Hari.

Gay rugby star Keegan Hirst says closeted athletes shouldn’t be forced to come out

His comments were made after the Real Madrid striker and his new BFF jokingly shared a series of snaps of their recent bromantic holiday.

If any players do choose to come out, however, then it would mark a landmark moment in British football history – as they will become the first openly gay footballers since Justin Fashanu.

Related topics: coming out, football, Keegan Hirst, LGBT, Rugby, sport

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