Leinster rugby scrum-half Nick McCarthy has come out as gay and said the experience so far has been “really positive”.
The 27-year-old said he had previously contemplated walking away from rugby because he did not think he could come out while playing.
“I just didn’t think I could come out while playing rugby,” he told the Leinster Rugby website in an interview.
“But, I spoke to [fellow players] Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster last November and the support that I got from them straight away was unbelievable. They helped and guided me over the months that followed so that I felt more comfortable to come out to the group.”
Last year he began to come out to his friends - all of whom have been “very supportive”.
“My friends have been unbelievable in helping me to accept that I am gay and to help me embrace that part of my life now,” he continued.
“I’m lucky to have grown up in a loving environment. My parents, my sister, grandparents and wider family, are totally accepting of me and I’m very thankful for their support.”
💙 | Scrum-half Nick McCarthy has spoken publicly for the first time about his sexuality.
He now hopes that sharing his experience will be encouraging and provide hope to others. 👏
Read more | https://t.co/Mb6Vq6WjEo#LeinsterRugby #FromTheGroundUp pic.twitter.com/2UNpD2itKe
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) June 20, 2022
On Monday morning Nick told Leinster’s full squad and the reaction was wholly positive:
“I only made a quick announcement. But I just remember the room erupting! They were all delighted for me and it was immediately a weight off my shoulders.
“I felt they understood my situation.
“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.”
Out and proud
Nick McCarthy becomes Leinster Rugby’s second out LGBT player; last year Jack Dunne appeared on the BBC’s LGBT sport podcast to talk about his experience as a bisexual rugby player.
Delighted to help @AvivaIreland launch their #LaceUpWithPride campaign. We are calling on the Irish sporting community to #LaceUpWithPride to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. Get your rainbow laces at https://t.co/B4HdTxY5mG. All profits go to LGBTQ+ charity @Belong_To pic.twitter.com/gy78W8DEOr
— Jack Dunne🤠 (@Dunners98) June 16, 2022
Jack said he had been out in his personal life for several years but was wary of being stereotyped as “the bisexual rugby player”. However, he decided to tell the media because he realised that “maybe there are some kids across the country who could do with a role model”.
Main image: Nick McCarthy. Picture by: Leinster Rugby