Former Wales and Lions [that’s rugby–I didn’t know either] captain Gareth Thomas has come out. Big burly manly sport that it is, professional rugby is surely not an obvious pick for gay-friendly profession. And Thomas, from what I hear, is about as big, burly, and manly as they get. He describes a terrible time in life, with his marriage to a woman who he clearly loved very much falling apart for obvious reasons. He was, from the sound of it, forced out of the closet. So what happened when he made his announcement? A heartwarming story perfect for the Christmas season, that’s what:
Cardiff Blues utility back Thomas said he had been through “all sorts of emotions” over the issue, since first knowing he was gay in his late teens.
He revealed that he was “anxious about people’s reactions” to him being gay and that he felt he could not have come out earlier in his rugby career.
“Somehow, the coach had guessed,” said Thomas. “He took me out of the team room to the medical room, locked the door and I told him everything.
“After keeping it secret for so long, I felt a huge rush of relief.
“Scott said: ‘Right, I’ve got to speak now to three or four players in the Welsh team because you need the boys to surround you and support you. You can’t cope with this on your own,’ and he was right.
“He told two of my team-mates, Stephen Jones and Martyn Williams, and as I sat in the bar waiting for them, I was absolutely terrified, wondering what they were going to say.
“But they came in, patted me on the back and said: ‘We don’t care. Why didn’t you tell us before?’
“Two of my best mates in rugby didn’t even blink an eyelid.”
You can read the full story on BBC online sport.