Irish rugby star Nick McCarthy has publicly come out as gay and cited Australian footballer Josh Cavallo as an inspiration.
The Leinster player revealed to the team’s website that he had come out to his coaches Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster in November before telling his teammates in January.
McCarthy spoke of the struggles of being a male athlete and coming out while still being an active player.
He said: “It affected me so much that 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.”
💙 | Scrum-half Nick McCarthy has spoken publicly for the first time about his sexuality.— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) June 20, 2022
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
However, McCarthy says he drew inspiration from Aussie trailblazer Josh Cavallo who became the first openly gay male top-flight footballer, as well as from NFL player Carl Nassib, and Leinster teammate Jack Dunne.
McCarthy said: “I’m a private person so I was unsure about coming out publicly.
“But looking at Carl Nassib or Josh Cavallo coming out and Jack Dunne here in Leinster and how he spoke publicly last year about his bisexuality, has helped me a lot. I’ve had good conversations with each of them and they’ve been hugely encouraging.
“In turn, I feel if I can now help others come out in professional sport or in their everyday lives and make being gay more normal and not a thing to be worried about, then that is a positive.”
Cavallo came out through his side Adelaide United’s socials in October 2021, making the brave public announcement.
In the video, he says: “I’m a footballer and I’m gay.
“Growing up I always felt the need to hide myself because I was ashamed. Ashamed that I would never be able to do what I love and be gay.”
He added: “All I want to do is play football and be treated equally.”
It signalled the first time an active professional footballer had publicly come out and was an inspiration to many, as evident in many of the responses to the video.
McCarthy has received a similar positive reaction, noting that his teammates gave him a huge ovation when coming out to his team.
He said: “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.”
A huge step in the right direction for professional male sport.
Featured Image Credit: Action Plus Sports Images / Alamy. Dailyausfootball.
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