NRL star Toby Rudolf reveals why he felt he needed to speak out about his same-sex experiences during Manly’s pride jersey fiasco – and what surprised him at the reaction of footy fans
- Cronulla Sharks striker Toby Rudolf admitted to kissing gay men
- He made his comments to boost the LGBTQI+ community after a rough week
- Rudolf’s statement came at the height of the fiasco of the pride of the Manly Sea Eagles
- Now he wants other young players to live like himself and not conform
Cronulla Sharks forward Toby Rudolf never had a father, calls himself the Kmart version of Jason Momoa and has a rescue puppy named Louie. He is also the only active one NRL player admits that he has kissed other men.
At the height of the Manly pride jersey fiasco, which saw seven players withdraw from their match against the Sydney Roosters, Rudolf stepped forward to let the NRL world know that he was attracted to both women and men.
Sexuality is very fluid. I’ve been out and kissed a lot of gay men, kissed a lot of straight women and kissed a lot of gay women,” Rudolf told the newspaper. Sydney Morning Herald at the time.
Rudolf has become a fan favorite in the Shire with his big personality and outgoing nature
Now Rudolf has revealed why he made those comments in an extended interview with Fox Sports.
“I just love love, honey,” he laughed.
“I wanted to give my support to the community that has been there all my life.
“And I’m not too busy talking about me either. I’m not afraid of anything, letting people know what I’m doing.
Rudolf identifies as heterosexual but said that could be fluid and he has kissed gay men
“Most importantly, the LGBTQI+ community has been kind of dragged through the mud that week and I just wanted to give them a push.
“In the background I really want to get on a Mardi Gras float and that’s probably the best way I can do that.”
Rudolf isn’t afraid to be honest and speak his mind, saying he annoys most people when they first meet because they talk too much.
He said the response to his comments was overwhelming.
‘[The reception] was really positive,” he said.
“You’ll always have some negative comments, but 99 percent of people were applauding me, my bravery and stuff, which I didn’t really think was that brave, I just thought it was me talking about my stuff.
“I went to Northie’s that night after we won that gold points contest and everyone there was just really nice, very supportive and said they loved what I said.
Male players called to replace the teammates who lowered themselves over the pride jersey
“Overall, it was just overwhelmingly positive. I was really pleasantly surprised.’
Rudolf strives to break the stigma in the rugby league
“There will always be a stigma around it, especially now that we play such a tough man’s sport,” he said.
“There’s still a stigma about being gay and all this and whatever.
“We just have to get over it, I think.
Rudolf wants NRL players to be their authentic selves and not go into the stigma of the sport
“I can understand where people come from with the religious background and stuff, but the general world today and the modern world is just ELE, everyone loves everyone.
Rudolf wants to challenge the norm of rugby league culture and has urged young players to stay true to themselves and not let others influence their decision-making.
‘It’s a bit individual. You don’t have to adapt to masculinity, you don’t have to adapt to being heterosexual, just be the person you want to be,” he said.
“There’s a misconception in football culture about what it’s like to be a man and be tough, burly, whatever you may say.
‘But you want to live in a world where everyone is comfortable and can just be who they are. Loving who they love and just hanging out with who they want to hang out with.”