A gay New Zealand television and radio presenter has clarified reports that he slept with an All Blacks rugby player and that there have been a number of gay All Blacks over the years.
The Sunday Star-Times reported that media personality Steve Gray, who is openly gay, had claimed that there were several gay players in the New Zealand national team and that it was time that one should come out.
He was quoted as saying: “I can definitely say there are gay All Blacks because I have slept with one.” The story has caused a furore in the sporting world.
On his blog, however, Gray denied some of the statements attributed to him.
“I did not claim there have been several gay All Blacks over the years. I stated I slept, well not much sleeping, in the 1990′s with a AB who had played in the 1970′s,” he said.
While Gray said that at the time he knew the player’s name, rank and what province he played for, “I have forgotten since”.
He added: “I said over the years there have been rumours about many All Blacks, none of which I knew too be true. I said many gay men have said they have slept with AB’s. As I had not witnessed this sex, I could not confirm if these acts had occurred.”
Gray explained that he had also not called on gay players to come out. “I said the rugby culture in this country is such, it would maybe not be a place a gay man would want to be.
“I said we live in a country where the Prime Minister equated being gay with being weird. Hardly leading from the top. I said it is not up to a rugby player to lead and show our country is a place that is proud of gay people when gay is still accepted as a put down.
“I said we need a country that is safe for gay people to live in, especially our young members who represent in such large numbers in our suicide stats,” he continued.
In 1995, Australian international player Ian Roberts became the first rugby footballer in the world to come out to the public as gay. He retired from rugby in 1998 and became an actor.
More recently, Welsh international Gareth Thomas announced he was gay in 2009. He has since retired from the sport and has become an international gay icon.