Thomas can expect hard time after gay revelation - Amaechi

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LONDON (Reuters) - Former NBA player John Amaechi has warned Gareth Thomas to expect a tough time after the ex-Wales rugby captain revealed he was gay.

Thomas, his country’s most capped player with 100 appearances who has scored 41 test tries to place him ninth on the all-time list, spoke of his sexuality in Saturday’s Daily Mail newspaper.

“When people learn you are gay, often that can squash your definition so all the good stuff goes and you just become ‘some gay rugby player’, which is quite difficult for many athletes to deal with,” Amaechi told the BBC.

Amaechi, who revealed he was gay after retiring from basketball in 2007, added homophobia was still present in sport.

“Sport still needs to grow up in certain areas,” said the Briton. “As much as society has moved on, sport is still dragging behind.”

Clive Woodward, who coached England to their 2003 World Cup triumph, said rugby would react positively to Thomas’s news.

“I am sure rugby will take it in its stride,” Woodward told the BBC. “If anyone doesn’t take that attitude then they’ve got the problem, rather than Gareth having a problem.”

Reporting by Tom Pilcher, editing by Tony Jimenez