Sam Stanley is first English rugby union player to come out

Huge congratulations to England Sevens star Sam Stanley, who has become the first English rugby union professional to come out as gay. Speaking to the Sunday Times, the player - who comes out in the same month as rugby league ace Keegan Hirst - said: “It is going to be an issue until more people and athletes come out, until it is not an issue at all. It might take years but hopefully, lots of people will find the courage."

Love a photo shoot! 'Run forwards and try to look serious' shot. Good to finally start running again #rugby #injury #shankle

A photo posted by Sam Stanley (@samstannerz) on

  In a worrying sign that the sporting world is still a daunting place for an LGBTQ person to come out, the 23-year-old explained that he even contemplated suicide at one point. He said: “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 joined the Sevens circuit in 2014, after four years with Saracens. His brother Mike is part of Samoa’s World Cup squad, while his uncle, Joe, was a member of New Zealand’s winning team in 1987. Let's hope he's flooded with well-wishes and support today.
James Bay - When We Were On Fire. Loving this guy #jamesbay #music #guitar #singing #i'mnotnaked A video posted by Sam Stanley (@samstannerz) on