You would think with all sorts of gay leagues in various sports these days, from rugby to the Gay Games, being gay in your sport isn't a big deal. But apparently it is, since it has taken 18 years for Gareth Thomas to come out to his sport and fans.
Not being a sportsperson myself I have no idea how hard the pressure is in teams to conform to the current macho norm, which in fashion terms is as much a variable feast as a catwalk is: the yesteryear imagery of a top sportsman can look very camp now. Will you just look a those short shorts in 1970s American basketball compared to the bloomers they wear today. And then there were the mullets and blow dry hairdos on an assortment of rugby and soccer players, eagerly adopted these days by retrosexuals.
The one thing that struck me about his story were his visits to London gay clubs when on tour. The fact that no-one on the scene sold their kiss-and-tell story to the tabloid newspapers is a credit to the gay community. I'm not sure whether that is because there is no interest in outing gay rugby players (unlike when they actually come out themselves), or that no gay man who picked him up actually recognised him or knew who he was. I suspect it would be a very different story had he been a premier league football player, judging by the even bigger closet and homophobia in soccer (despite its nancy-kissy-touchy-feely antics on the field).
But anyway, Gareth, welcome home.