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Leinster star Nick McCarthy admits he considered leaving professional rugby before coming out as gay

Leinster star Nick McCarthy reveals he considered leaving rugby due to fears he would be judged for his sexuality – before coming out as gay in an ‘entirely positive’ experience

  • Nick McCarthy has admitted he previously thought about quitting pro rugby
  • The Leinster scrum-half had feared negative judgments due to his sexuality
  • But McCarthy came out publicly as gay on Monday and called it ‘entirely positive’
  • He called the reaction of coaches Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster ‘unbelievable’

Leinster scrum-half Nick McCarthy admitted that at one stage he considered quitting professional rugby due to his sexuality.

The 27-year-old publicly revealed he is gay on Monday, having already come out to coaches Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster and his team-mates.

McCarthy initially feared he would not be able to be openly homosexual and continue in his current job.

Leinster scrum-half Nick McCarthy (pictured above) has admitted he previously contemplated quitting professional rugby due to his sexuality after publicly announcing he is gay on Monday

McCarthy said his experience coming out has been 'entirely positive' and described the reaction of Leinster coaches Leo Cullen (pictured) and Stuart Lancaster as 'unbelievable'

McCarthy said his experience coming out has been ‘entirely positive’ and described the reaction of Leinster coaches Leo Cullen (pictured) and Stuart Lancaster as ‘unbelievable’

But he took strength from the stories of footballer Josh Cavallo and American football star Carl Nassib, in addition to his bisexual team-mate Jack Dunne.

McCarthy revealed his experience has been ‘entirely positive’, describing the reaction of Cullen and Lancaster as ‘unbelievable’.

‘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,’ he said, in an interview published on Leinster’s website.

‘It affected me so much that I agonized over my future and contemplated walking away from rugby altogether because I just didn’t think I could come out while playing rugby.

‘It’s not common for a male athlete to come out in sport, never mind professional rugby, and it’s probably something that I didn’t want to believe or accept myself either. I needed to accept being gay myself before I could address it with others. I have great friends in rugby but I didn’t know how they would take it.

The ex-Munster star revealed he 'agonised' over his future and thought about walking away

The ex-Munster star revealed he ‘agonised’ over his future and thought about walking away

‘My experience, since coming out though has been entirely positive. I have realized that anyone who cares about you just wants you to be happy.’

McCarthy told Cullen and Lancaster in November before informing the rest of the Leinster squad in January.

‘Leinster Rugby is built on ‘brotherhood’ and it’s important that we can be open and honest with each other,’ continued the former Ireland Under-20 international.

‘I was obviously pretty nervous about doing so, but I’m really happy that I did it. 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.’

Leinster and Ireland captain Johnny Sexton (centre) said he was proud of McCarthy and that his team-mate is a role model for others, adding 'we are just delighted Nick... can be himself'

Leinster and Ireland captain Johnny Sexton (centre) said he was proud of McCarthy and that his team-mate is a role model for others, adding ‘we are just delighted Nick… can be himself’

Fellow Leinster player Dunne revealed his bisexuality last year, around the same time Nassib announced he was gay and a few months before Australian Cavallo made headlines across the world by sharing his news.

Leinster and Ireland captain Johnny Sexton said he was proud of McCarthy, and that his team-mate is a role model.

‘We are now just delighted for Nick and that he can be himself,’ said Sexton. ‘By speaking openly about his sexuality, Nick will be a role model and we could not be prouder of him.’

Irish Leo Varadkar – who holds the role of T├ínaiste, deputy head of the government politician, and is gay himself – said: ‘This is an important moment for men’s sport.

‘Nick will be a role model for young men around Ireland who feel they have to suppress who they are.’

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