Praise for Leinster Rugby's Nick McCarthy after he comes out as gay

McCarthy says he came out to his teammates in January

Oisin Keniry/Getty Images

Leinster rugby player Nick McCarthy has been inundated with messages of support on social media after coming out at gay.

The 27-year-old becomes one of the few openly gay men in professional sport, having revealed he came out to his teammates in January.

The scrum-half spoke to Marcus Ó Buachalla of Leinster Rugby and described his experiences since coming out as “entirely positive”.

"It’s not common for a male athlete to come out in sport, nevermind professional rugby, and it’s probably something that I didn’t want to believe or accept myself either,” he said.

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"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.”

He added: "My experience, since coming out though has been entirely positive. I have realised that anyone who cares about you, just wants you to be happy.”

The player also revealed that he feared at one stage that he might be forced to leave the professional game, as he wasn’t able to discuss his sexuality with the people on his team.

McCarthy said his experiences had been "entirely positive"Oisin Keniry/Getty Images

"I came out to my teammates in January and I was obviously pretty nervous about doing so, but I’m really happy that I did it.

"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 added: "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.

"But, I spoke to 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.

McCarthy has been sent countless messages of support online, with one social media user writing: “It takes a lot of guts to do this in the modern sports environment, make no mistake. Massive respect to Nick McCarthy. What he's done here will help so many people, young and old.”

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