Harlequins and English support Joe Marler want the rugby union to create conditions that will make it easier for players to “get out”.
Last week, Blackpool Football Club player Jake Daniels revealed his sexuality and became the first openly gay football player since 1990.
This made Marler wonder why something similar hadn’t happened in English rugby yet.
“There is no way everyone in professional elite rugby is heterosexual. By no means, “he said Mirror. “You can’t tell me that.” The question is, why doesn’t he feel comfortable?
Premiership Rugby already supports Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, which aims to promote equality and inclusion through sport for the LGBTQ + community while addressing discrimination at various levels.
Marler feels that although there is a lot of talk about the cause, too little is being done for her.
“We have said all the right things about equality and sexuality in sport,” he said.
“But one thing is to say them out loud and in the press, another to actually live by these values in the hallways, in the locker rooms, with your teammates to make people feel good.
“It simply came to our notice then. So it’s not just words, it’s not just fluff.
“It’s about empowering your teammates or rugby people who feel they want to come out but don’t feel they can because they’re worried about the stick they’ll get or that it’s going to be used against them.
“It’s about going out ‘well, buddy, be whoever you want, and I’ll fully respect and support it.’
“I hope we’re moving in the right direction and I hope to see someone who is playing to lead by example.”
Jack Dunne, who came out as a bisexual last year, will join the Exeter Chiefs of Leinster before the 2022/23 season, becoming the only Premiership player out there.
The 23-year-old second row longs to normalize the conversation about sexual orientation.
Dunne believes “it will probably want a few more guys” before it becomes the norm, and he wants rugby to get to a stage “where it’s not a matter of someone performing in public.”
Marler hopes that Daniels’ bravery will help others get out, while the prop, who has struggled with mental health issues throughout his career, is still campaigning for improvement in this area.
“There are a lot more support networks around me and other players these days,” Marler said.
“But what works for me now doesn’t mean I’ll definitely get to, say, the World Cup.” You better stay here and now and enjoy what it is. Let’s hope the future takes care of itself. “
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