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First out gay rugby league player opens up about ‘guilt’ of not helping murdered friend

Joseph McCormick May 26, 2016
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Ian Roberts of the Kangaroos poses for a photo during the Australian Kangaroos Rugby League photocall for the upcoming tour of Great Britain held in England.

Ian Roberts of the Kangaroos poses for a photo during the Australian Kangaroos Rugby League photocall for the upcoming tour of Great Britain held in England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The first out gay Rugby League player in the world has opened up about guilt he feels for not helping a young friend who was murdered.

Ian Roberts, who came out as gay in 1955 and now works as an actor, says he feels guilty for not helping police with information about Arron Light, a lodger and sex worker who went missing in the 1990s.

Roberts said, at the time, he was reluctant to help police with information about the lodger, who was murdered at age 15, as information about his sexual orientation could “destroy” his career.

Police had approached Roberts several times, he says, to ask for information about the teen’s sexual abuser and eventual murderer.

“This is what I live with now,” Roberts said in an interview with Fox Sports’ Peter Sterling.

“And I don’t ask for anyone’s sympathy or [have] regrets because I’m totally comfortable with what happened now. I can totally get my head around it.

“But for me to go to that point and think about my career when that boy ended up being murdered, left dead in a ditch, it kills, it crushes me.”

After coming out in 1995, Roberts described his sexual orientation as the “worst kept secret in rugby league”.

His parents had stopped attending games because of abuse he received.

“My parents never wanted me to come out either but I think it was to their relief too and they understood then why I had to come out,” Roberts continued.

“It almost gave them the right to be there and stand up for me.”

Related topics: Ian Roberts, murder, Rugby, sport

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