New Zealand third line Ardie Savea said on Wednesday he believed the “brave” coming out of Campbell Johnstone, the first All Black to come out as gay, could pave the way for other rugby stars.
Johnstone, a 43-year-old former prop who played three Tests for the All Blacks in 2005, came out in an interview on New Zealand television on Monday.
“To see someone come out, I think it’s quite brave. It’s great,” said Savea, who occasionally wears the armband with New Zealand in the absence of regular captain Sam Cane and is also a member of the All Blacks management group.
If a current All Blacks player were to follow Johnstone’s example by coming out, the Hurricanes star is confident he would be accepted by the team.
“In our time you would be accepted,” Savea told reporters in Wellington.
“I think in today’s society, a lot of people accept that. For me, and as a leader, our team is pretty open. We’re all in this together, whether you’re gay or straight, you’re accepted,” he said. -he rocks.
His All Blacks teammates Brad Weber and Aaron Smith also praised Johnstone, who Savea said had set a precedent in the tough world of New Zealand rugby.
“It takes a lot of courage, especially in the world of rugby and compared to how it was in the past – the old traditions of tough men,” added Savea.
Johnstone said he wanted to be the first All Black to come out in order to “remove the stigma and help others”.
Savea thinks the former Biarritz and Ospreys mainstay has achieved his goal.
“I probably know some of the doubts he may have had in his head, but he probably doesn’t realize how many people he’s helped with what he’s done – kudos to him,” added the younger brother of Julian Savea.
“It will allow people to be themselves. It’s our job as a community to accept that and be able to accept everyone,” he stressed.