Leeds rugby player Zak Hardaker, who was banned in May for five games following his homophobic comments towards referee James Child, has told the Daily Mirror how the ban “changed his life”.
The 22 year-old, who was fined £300 for the “fucking fag” comment he made at Leeds match against Warrington on May 30, trained with the UK’s first LGBT rugby league team Manchester Canalsiders as part of his ban, saying it has made him “a better person”. As part of his enlightening process following the incident, which received national press coverage, Hardaker received a tour of Manchester’s gay village.
Manchester Canalsiders club said that Hardaker will have their support as the player makes his comeback this Thursday night against Castleford.
Speaking of the incident, the full-back said, “I try to enjoy myself and live life to the full. Along the way you learn new things and this is one of the lessons I have learned. The Canalsiders have been terrific and at least some good has come out of what happened – I think it helped raise certain issues, including the profile of the club, so that’s great”.
Leeds coach Brian McDermott commented to The Daily Star, “He still professes that he never meant true hurt by what he said but we have all realised that type of terminology is not acceptable”.
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