England Sevens player Sam Stanley has become the first English rugby player (in union, that is) to come out as gay.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Stanley revealed that he contemplated suicide, sparked by the fear that telling the truth would destroy his rugby career.
I was standing on a bridge about four or five years ago, overlooking a motorway in Essex. However, looking back, the idea that I would jump was ridiculous but it was as if I was thinking that I could get rid of the pain in one go. You are so worried about what people will think and I thought I couldn’t be a macho rugby player the way I was, and there was nothing else I wanted to do with my life.
Stanley played for Saracens between 2010 and 2014, before leaving to join the sevens circuit. Of Samoan parentage, he comes from a family with a strong rugby pedigree. His brother Mike will play for Samoa in this World Cup while his uncle was part of the New Zealand team that won the inaugural tournament in 1987.
Stanley also praised Ben Cohen, the former England winner whose Stand Up Foundation has launched campaigns against bullying. for his help and advice.