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New Zealand rugby union star becomes first All Black to publicly come out as gay

New Zealand rugby union star becomes first All Black to publicly come out as gay

Campbell Johnstone appeared on New Zealand television to talk about the struggles of keeping his sexuality a secret.

Former All Blacks star Campbell Johnstone has become the first New Zealand rugby union international to publicly come out as gay.

The prop, who played three Tests for the All Blacks in 2005, appeared on the TVNZ network’s One News channel after coming out to his family and friends.

He said, via Fox Sports: “If I can be the first All Black that comes out as gay and take away the pressure, I guess, the stigma surrounding that whole issue then it can actually help other people and then the public will know that there is one in amongst the All Blacks.

“It could possibly be one of the final pieces in the public puzzle for New Zealand sports-wise and it could be a very vital piece that just gives everyone closure.

“If I open up that door and magically make that closet disappear, then we’re going to help a lot of people.”

The official All Black Twitter account praised Campbelll’s courage while also mentioning hi national team player number 1056.

The tweet said: “Much love and support for All Black #1056 Campbell Johnstone for having the courage to share his story and helping create a more inclusive game.”

The 43-year-old played for the Crusaders in the Super Rugby competition from 2004 to 2008, making 38 appearances.

His last test for the New Zealand international team came against the British and Irish Lions.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson also came out in support of Johnstone’s bravery saying it ‘will pave the way for others’.

He said: “On behalf of the New Zealand rugby community and as a former teammate, I want to acknowledge and support Campbell for sharing his authentic story.

“Rugby is a sport that is welcoming to everyone and a place where people should feel safe to be who they are.

“We know that there are people who have not always been comfortable to be who they are in rugby. We want to be clear, no matter who you love, rugby has your back.”

Johnstone delved a little deeper into the difficulties he faced in struggling to keep his sexuality secret as an active player.

He continued: “It slowly starts to affect you, you know, it is hard living a double life or living a lie.

“We have a phrase in rugby saying after a game if you can look yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself then you know you have done enough.

“And here I was looking in the mirror, had not been honest with my teammates, you know, and that puts a lot of pressure, and it builds up on you.

“I pushed that side of me down deeper and deeper … I went to some interesting places.”

Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports/Twitter.

Topics: New Zealand, Rugby Union, All Blacks

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