Sharks prop Toby Rudolf has opened up on why he spoke out and revealed details of his own sexuality amid the pride jersey controversy that engulfed the NRL.
In a wide-ranging interview with Fox League’s Jake Duke, the fan favourite discussed many parts of his career and life, including his support to the LGBTQI+ community earlier this month.
Rudolf welcomed the pride jersey initiatve and revealed in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald he had had same-sex experiences despite identifying as hetrosexual, stating “sexuality is fluid”.
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While many players chose to remain silent on the issue, Rudolf felt the need to show his support.
“I think I wanted to just throw my support behind the community that has sort of been there my whole life,” Rudolf said.
“Also I’m not too fussed to speak about anything about me like I’m not scared of anything to let people know about the things that I do.
“I think the main thing though is the LGBTQI+ community were sort of dragged through the mud that week and they were just looking for a bit of, I wanted to give them a bit of a boost.”
Growing up with a single mother and around members of the LGBTQI+ community Rudolf revealed that his uncle Marty played an integral role throughout his upbringing.
“Probably the biggest one was my uncle Marty, mum’s best friend,” Rudolf told Fox League’s Jake Duke.
“He was the gay guy that was in the article a few days earlier.
“He used to take me on camping trips, we used to go caving together at Jenolan Caves, went to Vanuatu once.
“He was always there, was always sort of guiding me along the way.”
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Rudolf joked the big motivation for his sexualty comments was wanting to get on a Mardi Gras float.
“Well the NRL’s got one,” Duke informed Rudolf.
“Do they!” Rudolf replied.
“Yeah the NRL’s got one,” Duke said.
“Absolutely you can be on it, in the Budgy Smugglers?”
“Keen as,” Rudolf answered.
While Rudolf speaks about his experience and love for the LGBTIQ+ community so openly he said it remained a complicated situation.
“There’s always going to be a stigma around it I think, especially us playing such a hard man sport,” Rudolf said.
“There’s still just a bit of I guess stigma around you know being gay and all this and whatever but people just need to get over it I think.
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“I can understand where people come from with the religious background and whatnot but in the general world today, the modern world it’s just ELE, everybody love everybody.”
“… It (the feedback from the comments) was really positive. No matter what you say you’re always going to have a couple of negative comments but 99% of people just sort of applauded me and my bravery,” Rudolf said.
“I didn’t really think it was that brave I just thought it was me just talking about my stuff, it didn’t phase me too much.
“I went out to Northies that night after the game, after we won that golden point game and everyone there was just being really nice as well, being really supportive, saying they loved what I said and yeah overall was just overwhelmingly positive.
“I was really nicely surprised.”
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