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Gay footy star is coming out of retirement as a protest against Manly boycotters

Gay footy star is coming out of retirement as a protest against the seven Manly players who boycotted over the club’s pride jersey

  • A gay former rugby league player has announced he is coming out of retirement 
  • Keegan Hirst hung up his boots in 2020 but is protesting against the Manly 7
  • Sea Eagles stars boycotted their game last week in response to the pride jersey
  • Hirst says he wants to help increase visibility of LGBTQ in rugby league 

Keegan Hirst, England’s first openly gay rugby league star, has decided to come out of retirement as a personal protest against the Manly seven.

Last month, seven Sea Eagles stars refused to wear the club’s rainbow jersey for their clash with Sydney Roosters, citing religious and cultural reasons behind their decision.

Their stance resulted in widespread backlash, with Manly fans throwing the support behind the club’s pride jersey at Brookvale Oval, and former Wakefield star Hirst has decided to return to league footy in response to the boycott.

Keegan Hirst has announced he is coming out of retirement as a protest against Manly seven

Hirst made headlines when he came out as gay in 2015 and was a vocal critic of the Manly boycotters in the immediate aftermath of their decision, and will play with his former club, Batley, in England’s second division.

‘COVID added to my own personal circumstances which made me lose touch with some of the things that I hold dearest to me; friends and rugby league,’ Hirst said in a statement. 

‘After the recent thinly-veiled homophobia over a rainbow shirt, I thought how can I help with visibility and inclusion? By lacing up my boots, putting on a playing shirt and getting back out there. That’s how I help with visibility and inclusion.

‘I still have plenty of games in me and I’m looking forward to helping Batley continue their incredible season.’

Seven Sea Eagles stars refused to play last week due to the club wearing rainbow jerseys

Seven Sea Eagles stars refused to play last week due to the club wearing rainbow jerseys

Hirst, England's first openly gay rugby league star, will return to second-tier footy this season

Hirst, England’s first openly gay rugby league star, will return to second-tier footy this season

He took to Twitter last month to hit out at Manly's seven boycotting stars and said he had seen 'much gayer' things in league locker rooms than a rainbow jersey

He took to Twitter last month to hit out at Manly’s seven boycotting stars and said he had seen ‘much gayer’ things in league locker rooms than a rainbow jersey

After hanging up his boots in 2020, Hirst has built a career around helping ‘gay men build incredible bodies, a rock-solid mindset and unstoppable confidence’. 

Last week, he tweeted that scenes he had witnessed in league locker rooms were ‘much gayer’ than rainbow stripes.

‘Hey @SeaEagles. I’d be honoured to wear your Pride shirt. As should all your players. Shame on the ones who aren’t,’ he tweeted. 

‘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.’ 

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk