Straight rugby star Toby Rudolf explains why he shared gay experiences: ‘I just love love, baby’

Toby Rudolf of the Sharks celebrates with fans after the round 20 NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the South Sydney Rabbitohs

Heterosexual National Rugby Leage (NRL) star Toby Rudolf has explained why decided to speak about his experiences kissing men.

Rudolf initially opened up about his same-sex experiences in an interview with Sydney Morning Herald on 29 July.

The rugby league star said at the time, despite identifying as heterosexual: “Love is love, and I love to share it with everyone.”

The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks prop has since told Fox Sports that “I just love love, baby” during a Fox League special named Toby Rudolf: All In.

I wanted to throw my support behind the community that has been there my whole life,” the Australian player added.

“I am not too fussed to speak about anything about me. I’m not really scared of anything, letting people know about the things that I do.”

In his Sydney Morning Herald interview, Rudolf said there had been several times when he’d been in a bar or a club and had kissed “many gay men,” saying he’s “open to both genders but only attracted to one of them”.

His words came in response to controversy surrounding a group of Manly Warringah Sea Eagles players who refused to wear a Pride jersey.

The seven players then boycotted a match due to the jersey, citing “religious and cultural” concerns.

In the same week as the match the group boycotted, Rudolf initially explained that he had not been “caught up” in the jersey situation, but said that he was “raised by quite a few gay and lesbian community members”, adding: “There’s so much love in that community.”


During his Fox special this week, Rudolf said: “The main thing is the LGBTQ+ community was sort of dragged through the mud a bit that week and I just wanted to give them a bit of a boost.”

The athlete told interviewers that the response to his openness “was really positive” and that it had been overwhelming.

“You are always going to have a couple of negative comments,” he said.

“But 99 per cent of people applauded me, my bravery and stuff which I didn’t really think it was that brave, I just thought it was me talking about my stuff. Overall, it was just overwhelmingly positive. I was really nicely surprised.”

Gay British rugby league former pro Keegan Hirst also hit out at the Australian players boycotting the game, saying that he was “disappointed” in the group.

“I’d be interested to hear what… religious and cultural beliefs stop you wearing a shirt with a rainbow on but not one that promotes gambling etc,” he tweeted on 27 July.

He then tagged the team in a second tweet, saying: “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”.

Manly owner Scott Penn addressed the “disappointing” controversy, saying that there would be no obligation to wear the jerseys but that the club was not “walking away from our position”.