WATCH: Norwich City players hear the story of Welsh rugby legend and gay rights advocate Gareth Thomas
PUBLISHED: 15:03 23 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:03 23 November 2017
Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas has delivered an inspirational talk to Norwich City’s players, after visiting Colney to discuss inclusivity in sport.
The former Wales and British & Irish Lions back, who was capped 100 times by his country, has become a well-known advocate of gay rights in sport since coming out as homosexual in 2009.
The 43-year-old has spoken openly about his struggle to accept his own sexuality, having been married to a woman for five years, and his suicidal thoughts as he came to terms with his decisions.
The Canaries have released a video of Thomas’s recent visit to the club’s Colney training centre, in which first team and academy players and coaches can be seen listening intently to the Welshman’s life story.
“People used to say to me, do you think by making this announcement, that your performances will dip?,” Thomas said. “And I used to say to all the press, do you realise how fast someone can run when they feel 10 stone lighter, or how high someone can jump when they don’t have such a weight on their shoulders?”
The Canaries have been active in their support of fan group Proud Canaries in recent years, including flying the group’s rainbow flag during the weekend of the annual Norwich Pride event.
Gay rights is an issue close to the heart of many associated with Norwich City, due to the tragic story of Justin Fashanu, a former player who took his own life in 1998 having become the first openly-gay professional footballer.
The club’s Customer Charter, which can be read in full at canaries.co.uk, also states: “The club will not tolerate any harassment or other discriminatory behaviour, whether physical or verbal, towards supporters, club employees or anyone else working or attending football matches or other events at Carrow Road.”
• Watch some of Thomas’s talk at Colney in the video above
• For more information about Proud Canaries, go to proudcanaries.co.uk