Nick McCarthy: Leinster scrum half ‘thought about walking out of rugby’

Nick McCarthy
Nick McCarthy helped Leinster achieve success on both the European and domestic stages.

Nick McCarthy, a Leinster scrumhalf, has stated that he had considered leaving rugby because he didn't think he could be gay while playing.

McCarthy stated, “It affected so much that my future was in doubt.”

“I came out to my co-workers in January, and although I was nervous about it, I am really glad that I did it.”

“I struggled with coming to out for a while, and it was starting impact on my happiness and me so it was the right choice,” she said.

“I made a brief announcement. The room burst into flames, but I don't remember. I felt lighter immediately because they were all so happy for me.

“They understood my situation. It is difficult to perform at your best when carrying anything. It was my sexuality for me, but it could also be stuff at home or in school.

“I'm a private individual so I was unsure about coming public.”

McCarthy's Leinster captain Johnny Sexton, as well as his team-mate and fellow player Johnny Sexton, have received support from a variety of players across the sport.

“We talk a lot here about looking after our brother and the last few weeks has been about that, Nick. That will not stop.” Sexton told leinsterrugby.ieexternal-link

“Nick will be an example for others by being open about his sexuality. We couldn't be prouder.”

After playing for Leinster under-16 and under-18 levels, the Michigan-born player was invited to join the Irish province's academy and was awarded a professional contract for 2017-18.

After helping Leinster reach success on the European and domestic fronts, he moved on to join Munster before returning home to Leinster for 2021-22.

“I talked to [Leinster coaches] Leo [Cullen] Stuart [Lancaster] McCarthy stated that McCarthy received incredible support from them last November, and they were there for me right away.”

“They guided and helped me in the months that followed, so that I was more comfortable coming out to the group.

Ross Byrne and Nick McCarthy
McCarthy was positive about the team-mates' support.

“It's rare for a male athlete in sport, not to mention professional rugby. I don't believe it was something that I wanted to believe or accept.”

“It affected my life so badly that I considered quitting rugby entirely. I couldn't imagine how I would get out of rugby.

“I had to admit that I was gay before I could openly discuss it with others. I am very close to rugby players, but I was unsure how they would handle it.

“My experience since I came out was positive. “I have realized that anyone who cares about me wants you to be happy.”

“Around the same time last year, I began talking to close friends and they were very supportive. As I became more comfortable with myself, those conversations continued.

“In many professions you may not feel the necessity to discuss your sexuality. But I felt that I wasn't being honest with myself.

Fellow Leinster player Jack Dunne publicly came out as bisexual last yearThe announcement came at the same time that American football player Carl Nassib was openly gay. A few months later, Josh Cavallo, an Australian soccer player, made headlines when he became the first male top-flight footballer to openly identify as gay.

“Looking at Nassib and Cavallo coming out, Jack here in Leinster, and how he talked publicly about his bisexuality last year has helped me tremendously. McCarthy shared that McCarthy has had great conversations with each of these people and they have been hugely supportive.

“I feel that if I can help other gay people in their daily lives or professional sports, and make it more common and less worrying, then that's a positive.”

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