Referee Nigel Owens thought about quitting rugby because of homophobia

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Welsh referee Nigel Owens has revealed that he nearly left rugby after being subjected to homophobic abuse at one of the first matches after his public coming out as gay. The official revealed that he received a personal letter from the then Rugby Football Union chair Bill Beaumont following the incident. Beaumont supported him and encouraged not to ruin his career and not to cease doing what he loves just because there is someone who does not like him. There will always be such people, haters gonna hate, but they should not stop you. “It was New Zealand vs England in Twickenham, I’d had a couple of phone calls asking me what I’d thought about the comments that had been shouted at me,” Owens said in a video for Dove Men+Care as part of its Spirit of Rugby series, adding that hwe does not know whether those were real rugby fans or people who came deliberately to assault him. “What was difficult, people talking about it and then everyone in the world knows you’re gay. So there was a sense of disappointment, of ‘here we go again’. Even now, after all I’ve been through, there are times where it gets you down and gets you scared,” he added, but the support from the rugby community, especially Beaumont, strengthened him and made him believe that rugby is his sport, he belongs here, and his rugby family would never let him down.

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