New Zealand gay former TV presenter Steve Gray has denied reports that he is calling for a member of the national rugby team, the All Blacks, to come out.
The Sunday Star-Times reported that Gray, along with other gay rights advocates, was calling for an All Blacks player to come out and said there have been several gay All Blacks over the years.
‘I did not claim there have been several gay All Blacks over the years,’ corrected Gray on his blog. ‘I stated I slept, well not much sleeping, in the 1990’s [sic] with a AB who had played in the 1970s’s [sic].’
In his blog post Gray stopped short of encouraging All Blacks to come out.
‘The rugby culture in this country is such,’ said Gray. ‘It would maybe not be a place a gay man would want to be…
‘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.’
Gray used to co-present national TV show Good Morning, but he left in 2009.
Australian rugby league player Ian Roberts was the first professional rugby player in the world to come out in 1995.
Former All Blacks player Craig Innes described Roberts as ‘probably the toughest, meanest rugby league player ever’ and said it would be good for New Zealand’s gay community if a All Blacks player came out.
‘I’d admire someone who had the guts to do something like that,’ said Innes. ‘It would obviously take a very brave person to do it.’