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British Rugby Star Zak Hardaker Says He’s Now 'A Better Person' After 5 Game Ban for Anti-gay Slur

Zak hardaker

British Rugby Player Zak Hardaker, who was punished with a five-match ban for calling a player a “f—king fag” in late May, says that his suspension and subsequent work with the LGBT community has made him “a better person now.”

Attitude reports:

Hardaker recently asked to train with the LGBT rugby team The Manchester Canalsiders, and says he has “learned what you can and can’t say” from the experience.

“I try to enjoy myself and live life to the full,” said the 22-year-old player. “Along the way you learn new things and this is one of the lessons I have learned. The Canalsiders have been terrific and at least some good has come out of what happened.”

He continued: “They recognised it was just a heat of the moment comment and I am really thankful for their support. I think it has helped to raise certain issues, including the profile of the club, so that’s great. I have learned what you can and can’t say and how it affects different people.”

Earlier this week, Hardaker also met with other members of Manchester's LGBT community to learn about the impact of homophobia.


Rugby Player Voted Out Of His Club For Being Gay: VIDEO

Bingham cup 2014

A rugby club in New Zealand has denied claims that a former gay player was voted out because of his sexuality, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

ClaydonNow based in Sydney, Australia, Jay Claydon says that when his teammates found out that he was gay, they held a vote behind his back to remove him from the club.

Both clubs that Claydon played for at senior level in 2006 and 2007 have refuted the player's claims.  Sources close to Claydon’s family have also backed up one of the club’s assertions and Don Fisher, a former coach at Claydon’s second club, said that there were no issues with the player who was ”a valued member of our club."

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Claydon said he discovered when he moved to Australia in 2008 that homophobic slurs were an accepted part of sporting culture and that he felt compelled to keep his sexuality secret for fear of being ostracised.

"It's such a stereotype, but at most clubs they see a gay guy and think you can't be sporty or masculine. They think that you're weak or you're not as tough as them. Even when they didn't know I was gay I'd hear the word 'faggot' all the time."

The Fairfax Media article also cited a new study, Out On The Fields, which was commissioned by organisers of the Bingham Cup, the gay rugby World Cup, which will be held in Sydney in August.

The reports revealed that 85% of gay athletes had experienced or witnessed homophobic abuse.

Last year, Claydon joined the Sydney Convicts, Australia's first gay rugby union club.

Watch the official Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Australian Rugby Player Josh Mansour Gets an Ice Bath in a Speedo: VIDEO

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Josh Mansour, a player for the National Rugby League in Australia, lost some sort of challenge for which he was forced to be given an ice bath by fellow players, which he then posted to Instagram. Here's to more losses.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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News: Episcopal Support For Gay Marriage, Rugby, Omar Sharif Jr., Gay CEOs

Jesus RoadAwesome counter-protest at Chicago Pride.

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RoadChris Colfer tweets he was let go from Glee; reps then say his account was hacked and the actor will in fact be returning to the show.

RoadThrowback Thursday: TRL returns for one day only.

RoadThe Episcopal Diocese of St. Louis announces support for challenge to Missouri's same-sex marriage ban: "Bishop George Wayne Smith said in a statement that he 'supports St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and City Counselor Winston Calvert in their challenge to Missouri law prohibiting same-sex marriage. Even as the Episcopal Church works to clarify our theological understanding of and pastoral practices around same-sex blessings, I believe that it is not the place of the State of Missouri to deny the privileges and responsibilities of marriage to anyone, basing that denial solely on the gender of the couple.'”

RoadJessica Chastain played Juliet in NYC's Shakespeare in the Park.

RoadFault in Our Stars star Ansel Elgort to play gay pianist Van Cliburn in biopic.

RoadFirst official image of Henry Cavill as Superman in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Henry RoadPennsylvania High School won't allow production of Monty Python's Spamelot because play features gay wedding: "Dawn Burch, director of the school’s drama department, told WNEP news that Principal Jesse Smith wrote an email to her informing her that homosexuality does not exist in a conservative community such as South Williamsport. Smith did not respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry regarding these specific comments."

RoadApparently, there were some fireworks on the set of The Notebook. Hate and love are the closest emotions.

RoadAustralian rugby team Sydney Convicts are first gay team to play on professional level: “The Sydney Convicts are very excited and proud to be the first gay and inclusive rugby team to be invited to play as part of an elite level rugby match," [The president of the Convicts, Dave] Whitaker told the Gay News Network. “We hope this game helps to challenge these misconceptions while also raising awareness that homophobia in sport is still a major issue and gay people often still feel unwelcome.”

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RoadOmar Sharif Jr. one of People's hottest bachelors.

RoadBrothers & Sisters alum and out actor Luke MacFarlane to play gay service-member on NBC's Night Shift

RoadRussian conductor Valery Gergiev, known for being close with Russian President Vladimir Putin, says Russia's anti-gay propaganda law isn't anti-gay: “It’s not anti-gay… Nothing to do with gay. It’s about propaganda in schools, in schools, what they call ‘non-traditional’. I don’t understand all these things; I also don’t understand the campaign [of protests against his performances].” He went on to claim that the impacts of the law are exaggerated by western media, saying: “I didn’t know about this law. I learnt about this law in the west. Nobody knows about this law in Russia because [the] law is never applied. No one is put in prison, no one is killed, no one is arrested. We have no idea what is this law in reality to do with our lives here. No idea. Nobody here is about this at all.”

RoadGay CEOs reluctant to come out? "'Of course there are gay CEOs and I reached out to many of them and got an extremely cool reception,' said New York Times columnist Jim Stewart on CNBC, 'Not one would allow to be named for the column.'"


British Rugby Player Banned Five Matches for Homophobic Slur

Hardaker

British rugby player Zak Hardaker was punished with a five-match ban for calling a player a "f--king fag" in late May, the Daily Mail reports:

The 22-year-old England international was also fined £300 by a Rugby Football League independent disciplinary tribunal which sat for almost four hours in Leeds.

Hardaker, who was represented by his club's legal team, was charged with a grade E offence, which carries a suspension of between four and eight matches, after his offensive comments were spotted on television during Leeds' 24-6 defeat by Warrington 11 days ago.

Hardaker last week issued an apology for his comments, admitting he used inappropriate language and insisted they were aimed at Warrington captain Michael Monaghan, rather than referee James Child, which appeared to be the case.

Following the punishment, Hardaker tweeted:


Australian Rugby League Brothers Sam and Thomas Burgess Fight Homophobia: VIDEO

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Sam and Thomas Burgess, who play for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, released a video in conjunction with the Bingham Cup's 'Out in the Field' study of anti-discrimination in sports.

Says Sam in the clip: "I don’t see why there should be any discrimination about colour, sexuality, your heritage or where you’re from. Sport is a great thing, and it brings people from all different aspects of life together, so why should your sexuality be a problem? The only way we are going to understand the issue is if people get out there and tell their story so we can help fix it.”

Adds Thomas: "I think discrimination in sport is old fashioned. We're very passionate about the game. We have lots of gay friends."

Watch the clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

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