Campbell Johnstone: New Zealand rugby legend comes out as gay

Monday, 30 January 2023 (21:12 IST)
Campbell Johnstone, who played in New Zealand's famed All Blacks, revealed he was gay on a New Zealand current affairs television program on Monday. 
The announcement is a first for the national rugby team, which praised Johnstone for sharing his story and making the national sport more inclusive.
What the former All Black said
Johnstone said that, before acknowledging his sexuality, he had been "living a lie" and leading "a double life."
"If I can be the first All Black that comes out as gay and take away the pressure, I guess, the stigma surrounding that whole issue then it can actually help other people," Johnstone said.
"Then the public will know that there is one in amongst the All Blacks," he added.
"We have a phrase in rugby saying after a game if you can look yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself then you know you have done enough," Johnstone said.
"And here I was looking in the mirror, had not been honest with my teammates, you know, and that puts a lot of pressure, and it builds up on you."
The 43-year-old prop played three Tests for the All Blacks — regarded as one of the most successful sports teams in history  — in 2005. He made his debut against Fiji and played two matches against the British and Irish Lions in the same year.
Support from within sport
The All Blacks praised his decision on Twitter, saying Johnstone's courage would help others.
"On behalf of the New Zealand rugby community and as a former teammate, I want to acknowledge and support Campbell for sharing his authentic story," said New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson.
"We know that there are people who have not always been comfortable to be who they are in rugby," Robinson said in a statement. "We want to be clear, no matter who you love, rugby has your back."
New Zealand Sports Minister Grant Robertson, who is himself gay, said the announcement was a "big moment'' and thanked Johnstone for "blazing this trail."
"Now with the All Blacks, another barrier has been broken. I hope it inspires future generations to be open, happy, and comfortable. There is still a long way to go, but this feels a very significant step," Robertson, New Zealand's former deputy prime minister, said on Instagram.
In addition to his international career, Johnstone played for the New Zealand Super Rugby side Crusaders before joining the French side Biarritz Olympique and Welsh regional team Ospreys.

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