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Rugby pro Nick McCarthy comes out as gay: ‘I’m so much happier’

Emily Chudy June 21, 2022
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Rugby player Nick McCarthy comes out as gay

Rugby player Nick McCarthy comes out as gay (Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Irish rugby player Nick McCarthy has come out as gay, stating that he is “so much happier than [he] was”.

In an interview with his team, Leinster Rugby, the 27-year-old said he came out to his teammates in January, and that it has been an “entirely positive” experience.

“I was obviously pretty nervous about doing so, but I’m really happy that I did it,” he said.

“I struggled with coming out for a while and it was starting to impact on me and my happiness so it was the right decision.”

McCarthy said that while the experience of coming out has been positive, he once considered retiring from the sport due to his struggle with his sexuality.

“I agonised over my future and contemplated walking away from rugby altogether because I just didn’t think I could come out while playing rugby,” he said.

“It’s hard to perform at your best when you are carrying something, anything, and that’s the same for all the lads… For me it was my sexuality, for others it could be stuff at home, or studies or whatever.”

The Leinster scrum-half said he was inspired by other LGBTQ+ athletes to come out himself, citing Australian footballer Josh Cavallo, and his own teammate Jack Dunne, who came out as bisexual last year. 

He said when he told his teammates, the room ‘erupted’.

“They were all delighted for me and it was immediately a weight off my shoulders.

“Leinster Rugby is built on ‘brotherhood’ and it’s important that we can be open and honest with each other. We spend so much time together, and I now feel very comfortable in this environment being myself.

“I’m so much happier than I was a few months ago and I’m optimistic for the future.

“If one other person, one other kid, keeps playing their sport because they see a Leinster Rugby player has come out and is accepted, that would be a great outcome.”

Blackpool’s Jake Daniels made history in May as the UK’s first male pro-footballer to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

He told Sky Sports that “being gay or bi or queer” in men’s football is “still a taboo” subject, but that it was a “massive relief” to come out.

He added that by coming out, he hopes he can “be a role model” and help “others come out if they want to”.

“I am only 17 but I am clear that this is what I want to do and if, by me coming out, other people look at me and feel maybe they can do it as well, that would be brilliant,” he said. 

More: coming out, Rugby

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