Cardiff Blues utility back line player, and Wales international superstar Gareth Thomas rocked the rugby world with his recent announcement stating he is a gay.
While some of his teammates and Cardiff Blues head coach Scott Johnson have known this since 2006 when Thomas told them, this is the first time Gareth made his sexuality known to the public. This is a groundbreaking announcement and makes Gareth Thomas the first openly gay rugger who is still playing.
While it is difficult to gauge the reaction to Thomas' announcement, at first glimpse it appears the response has been very positive from the fans that this blogger has been in contact with.
While that is not surprising, it is very comforting to see the general public is that open and accepting. At the end of the day Gareth Thomas is Wales most capped individual and one of their all time great players. This is what fans care about, not what is going on in his personal life.
As an American sports blogger this case brings up another interesting situation. For the past few years there has been the debate of could an American athlete, most specifically a football player, come out of the closet and be accepted by his teammates and friends? The popular argument has been no, it is not possible for an American athlete to come out and be accepted. And for the most part I have always agreed with that line of thought.
However, after hearing today's news and reading and speaking with people, I am recanting my previous position. While I am sure this was not an easy task for Gareth Thomas, and he will have plenty of hurdles ahead of him, I have no doubt that he did the right thing. He has the right to be proud of who he is. As far as him being a rugby player, anyone who questions that needs only look at his 100 international test appearances.
What I am learning form this situation is perhaps the public is more accepting than I originally anticipated. Could it be that the old cynic is gaining faith in humans? Well I may not go that far just yet, but I will say this could be a small bright spot.
Gareth Thomas is a great rugger, and at the end of the day, that is all that matters. Let's move on.
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