Nick McCarthy, the scrum-half for Leinster, has come out as gay.
In an interview for the Irish rugby team’s official website, the 27-year-old revealed that he came out to his teammates in January after first confiding in his coaches Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster in November.
While wrestling with his decision to publicly divulge his sexuality, McCarthy admitted that he contemplated “walking away from rugby altogether” because he didn’t believe he could be openly out in the sport.
However, the support from Cullen and Lancaster was “unbelievable” and motivated his decision to come out to his team.
“They helped and guided me over the months that followed so that I felt more comfortable to come out to the group,” he said.
When asked why he thought it wasn’t possible for him to be open about his sexuality, McCarthy explained: “I suppose because it’s not really ‘a thing’.
“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. 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. 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.”
McCarthy was also inspired by fellow out sports stars such as Carl Nassib and Josh Cavallo, as well Leinster’s own Jack Dunne, saying he’s had “good conversations” with each of them and they were “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,” he continued.
While some of McCarthy’s loved ones “felt sorry” that he couldn’t be authentically himself sooner, he said his parents, sister, grandparents and wider family are “totally accepting” of him and he’s thankful for their support.
Now that he’s come out, McCarthy is “so much happier” and is “optimistic” for the future.
“If one other person, one other kid, keeps playing their sport because they see a Leinster Rugby player has come out and is accepted, that would be a great outcome,” he said.
“I’d love people to see, from my experience, that coming out has been really positive, and the biggest hurdle may be in your own head.”
You can read Nick McCarthy’s full coming out interview here.
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