Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Donal Og Cusack

A man, still playing his sport and very good at it, comes out and states he's gay and the reaction is....so what, keep playing. The times are a changing. Since I personally know he's not the only gay athlete out there, I hope that he and his community who've shown him support, can become role models to others in the same situation. I can also relate to this quote:

"Since I was 13 or 14, I knew I was a bit different. I hate labels though. That's the way I am. I live with it and I am fine with it. People close to me will tell you there were never any tears. There was never agony. I just know this thing.

I've had to say this to people I'm close to again and again. This is who I am. This is what I do. I spend a lot of time trying to work things out but once I know something about myself, I know it. I don't agonise. It's logical to me. I thought about this but never had any problems dealing with it."

GAA stars and hurling fans have urged Donal Og Cusack not to hang up his hurley amid concerns about the reaction to his decision to come out as a gay man.

The Cork goalkeeper was overwhelmed yesterday with messages of support from teammates, Rebels fans and GAA supporters in his native club, Cloyne.

Senior Cork GAA stars including Ben O'Connor, Brian Corcoran, Sean Og O'hAilpin, Tom Kenny, Timmy McCarthy and Cathal Naughton stressed they respected Cusack's decision to go public -- and admired both his honesty and courage.

Cork hurling star and GAA commentator Tomas Mulcahy said he expected Cusack to continue.

Yesterday it was announced that Donal Og will be a guest on the 'Late Late Show' on Friday night.

However, some Cork GAA officials have privately expressed concern about the possible reaction of a minority of fans.

The GAA -- which has proudly led the way with multiculturalism, integration and tolerance within sport -- is now expected to adopt a hard-line stance to any unacceptable reaction from fans.

Fans flooded Cork radio stations 96 FM and Red FM yesterday with calls supporting Cusack.

The only criticisms were from fans worried that his comments about Cork Co Board could reignite the bitter strike by players that ended earlier this year. Others expressed concern that former manager Gerald McCarthy could be hurt by some of the commentary.

The players' strike only ended when Mr McCarthy stepped down as Cork hurling manager amid concerns for his family.

Cusack -- whose biography 'Come What May' will be published on October 23 -- has already been staunchly supported by both Cloyne GAA members and his fellow Cork hurling teammates.

Veteran Cork forward Timmy McCarthy said: "Of course he has my support."

Cork and Newtownshandrum star Ben O'Connor paid tribute to Donal Og Cusack as a true sportsman of great integrity.

"He is a top man. (Donal) is one of the best and most genuine GAA men around. He will be supported by Cork players and all genuine GAA people -- absolutely 100pc," he said.

Others pointed out that Corkonians traditionally stood by their own.

Star forward Cathal Naughton said true GAA fans would remember how much Donal Og had given to the game over the past 15 years.

"We are all fully, 100pc behind him. (Donal) is a great man and has (done) so much for all of us. This won't change anything," he vowed.

Locals in Donal Og's native village of Cloyne also rallied to show their support yesterday.

Tom Canavan, a neighbour and friend of the Cusack family, said Donal Og's courage and honesty should be an inspiration to all Irish people.

"There are 100,000 people playing GAA in this country and he is hardly the only one who is gay. I hope his comments will be a help to other gay sportspeople," he declared.

Others admitted the revelations in his biography left them startled.

"When my son told me yesterday, I was hit for six. But the main thing is he was able to come out," Cloyne woman Kitty Ryan said.


Rachel said...

This is really cool, and news that I would not have seen otherwise so thanks for posting it. What an encouraging response and such a great thing for athletes! My husband and I were just talking about this actually. It came up because we're big American football fans and we were talking about a QB that recently got benched for admitting he had a social anxiety disorder. The organizational response was barbaric and pathetic. Rather than standing by their player they basically said he couldn't be a good leader and the team would have no confidence in him. Rumors were circulating that it compromised his "manliness." Whatever the fuck that means. With these kind of ignorant responses to player honesty, and arbitrary definitions of leadership and "manliness," is it any wonder that athletes are not comfortable being open about themselves? It's disgusting and I hope that the US athletic community (and fans) will soon move in the same direction as those in this news article.

Anonymous said...

As a Dublin GAA fan and a gay man I am so proud of Donal Og...good on him...lets hope many other leading gay players in rugby,soccer will have the strength to come out too. If they do it will show young people that you can excel in life and still be gay.

American Irish said...

Rachel, what QB did that happen too?

I agree Anon.

Mannii said...

Donal is a great role model for the young gay community around the country. Hope this is the beginning of a great road for him.

Rachel said...

QB is Vince Young. Played college at Texas (I watch more college ball) and is benched with the Tennessee Titans now. He lost his starting position last year.