Keegan Hirst, the first British professional rugby league player to come out as gay, announced he is coming out of retirement in the wake of the Manly 7 Pride jersey boycott.
The 34-year-old former Halifax player said he was joining Batley Bulldogs. Hirst had come out in 2015 and in October 2020 announced his retirement.
Hirst will be eligible to play in the next season. “Profile has been updated. No longer an ‘ex’ rugby player,” Hirst posted on Twitter.
Homophobia Over A Rainbow Shirt
Hirst said his decision to come out of retirement was aimed at promoting inclusion in sport in the background of the controversy surrounding the Sydney Sea Eagles’ decision to wear Pride jerseys.
“Covid added to my own personal circumstances which made me lose touch with some of the things that I hold dearest to me; friends and rugby league,” Hirst said in a statement released by SkySports.
“After the recent thinly-veiled homophobia over a rainbow shirt, I thought how can I help with visibility and inclusion? By lacing up my boots, putting on a playing shirt and getting back out there, that’s how I help with visibility and inclusion,” said Hirst, adding, “I still have plenty of games in me and I’m looking forward to helping Batley continue their incredible season.”
Manly 7 Boycott Pride Jersey
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