Rugby: Ardie Savea believes Campbell Johnstone is strong; says gay All Black would be welcome in the current environment

Ardie Savea of ​​the All Blacks. Photo / Photosport

Ardie Savea has praised ex-All Blacks prop Campbell Johnstone on his decision to become the first gay All Black to come out publicly, saying it had a big impact.

The leader of the All Blacks, Savea acknowledged the courage shown by Johnstone and said it was time to start breaking down some barriers to others in the game.

“It takes a lot of courage, especially in rough circles and how it used to be; It has been handed down from the ancients. But seeing someone come out, it’s pretty bold,” Savea said.

“I know the doubts that have been in his head, but maybe he doesn’t understand how many people he has helped internally with what he has done, so much for him.

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It has been nearly 20 years since Johnstone pulled on a black jersey, and Savea added that if the current All Blacks players were to come, they were confident there would be no issues with the player’s acceptance into the team.

“I think in this society right now a lot of people are accepting of that. As a leader, our team is quite open. We’re all about togetherness, regardless of whether you’re Samoan or Pacific, if you’re gay or if you’re straight, you’re accepted and loved.

“My belief is that you love everyone, regardless of who you are. I think in this day and age you would like to be accepted. You could easily see what guys don’t do, and they pulled in this.”

All Black Campbell Johnstone talks to TVNZ's Seven Point.  Photo / TVNZ
All Black Campbell Johnstone talks to TVNZ’s Seven Point. Photo / TVNZ

Johnstone, who played three tests for the All Blacks in 2005, received much applause after his revelation in an interview with TVNZ’s Seven Sharp on Monday night.

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Savea said Johnstone’s advice not only helps people around the game to reveal their sexuality if they want to, but also helps everyone involved in the game feel more comfortable showing their true selves.

He added that rugby, while it was big news in New Zealand, was a reminder of the importance of creating a space for everyone in the country where everyone felt safe within that city.

“It’s our job to make sure communities can accept that and anyone and everyone can accept it. Not only do you want to feel comfortable in them, you want to make that space around them safe.

Speaking to TVNZ, Johnstone said he hoped his decision would go away, removing the stigma of homosexuality in rugby.

“If I can be the first All Black person to come out as gay and take away the pressure and stigma around the whole issue, then it can help other people as well. Then the public will know that all Blacks are one,” he said.

“Being able to do that could be one of the final pieces in the puzzle for the New Zealand game … it could be a very vital piece that gives everyone closure.”

“If I open the door and the knockers make the room disappear, we’re going to help a lot of people.”

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