Keegan Hirst is coming out of retirement.
The 34-year-old athlete-turned-fitness-guru-turned-athlete announced that he’ll be returning to the world of professional rugby on Monday, August 1. The British forward shared in an interview with Sky Sports News that he’ll be joining the Batley Bulldogs.
Hirst also shared the reason for why he’s coming back. The hunky athlete decided to return to the sport in order to push for inclusivity. After seeing the mess going on with the seven Sydney athletes boycotting wearing pride shirts, Hirst knew he had to get back in the game.
“After the recent thinly-veiled homophobia over a rainbow shirt I thought: ‘How can I help with visibility and inclusion?’” Hirst explained. “By lacing up my boots, putting on a playing shirt and getting back out there, that’s how. I still have plenty of games in me and am looking forward to help Batley continue their incredible season as they ready for their playoff campaign.”
Hirst is referencing last month’s controversy around seven players from the manly Warringah Sea Eagles withdrawing from a match against the Roosters. Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolutau Koula and Toafofoa Sipley were all opposed to wearing rainbow-colored jerseys during the special match. They cited religious and cultural reasons as their defense. Though, they later agreed to wear pride shirts in future games… after backlash and counselling from their coaches.
Hey @SeaEagles, I’d be honoured to wear your Pride shirt. As should all your players.
Shame on the ones who aren’t.
— Keegan Hirst (@KeeganHirst) July 26, 2022
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This isn’t the first time that Keegan Hirst has talked about the incident. Hirst tweeted about the situation in late July.
“I’d be interested to hear what which religious and cultural beliefs stop you wearing a shirt with a rainbow on but not one that promotes gambling etc?” he wrote.
The athlete then added, “Hey @SeaEagles, I’d be honoured to wear your Pride shirt. As should all your players. Shame on the ones who aren’t.”
He continued in a follow-up tweet, “The ironic thing about the @SeaEagles Pride/player boycott saga is that I know what goes on in RL changing rooms. And a lot of it would be seen as being MUCH “gayer” than a rainbow on a jersey….”
But, unfortunately, we’ll have to wait to watch Keegan Hirst play. As BBC Sport reports, Hirst missed the deadline for joining the current season. The cut-off for singing players was July 22 and exceptions are only allowed for those who have not been at a club for three years. Since Hirst retired in October of 2020, he’s still a year short of that exception.
“I did not realise the stipulation about the registration ruling,” Batley boss Craig Lingard told BBC Sport. “I could register myself or anyone off the street, so I am not sure why it is three years, why not one, two or four?”
“We are going to have to abide by it, there is nothing we can do about it. The chairman is in dialogue with the RFL, but it doesn’t look like it will change,” Lingard added, “We hope he will carry on training with us this season and be ready for next season.”
Source: Sky Sports News, BBC Sport,
1 thought on “We Just Got Another Active Gay Rugby Pro”
Weirdly I was just browsing the wayback machine and came across a story when he first came out gay and have been wondering what he’s been up to.