In an emotional speech, Irish rugby player Joe Schmidt spoke about the importance of speaking out about the anti-hero culture that pervades the sport and the way that some players are ostracised and treated unfairly in the wake of injuries.
Key points:Joe Schmidt says he was forced to leave Ireland because of his mental health issues”I was forced out of the game because I couldn’t be a part of it,” said Joe Schmidt, who played five games for the All Blacks in 2017 and 2019″There’s so much bullying that’s going on.
It’s all in the media.
I was never able to be a member of the All Black side for the majority of my life.”
Speaking at the launch of the book, Joe said that he was often asked if he would play rugby in England again, and he said he felt that he would never be able to play rugby again because of the negative impact that the sport has on his mental and physical health.
“I’m not a bad person.
I’ve never been a bad guy.
I don’t deserve to be in the same place as the bad guys.
They just need to go and do it,” he said.”
There are bad guys in this game, bad players out there.
They don’t belong in this sport.
I feel that I would be unable to play it and I’d be able in my mind to feel as though I was playing a part in it.”
They are all going to go through this.
I’m sure that the people that know the game better than me and are more knowledgeable about it, know that the players out here, the people who are mentally challenged, are going to get it,” Joe said.
He spoke about how it is very difficult to be an outsider in this country, and the “negative things” that are said about players because of their mental health, and how that has affected their team mates and the community as a whole.”
You hear that stuff from other sports, like rugby,” he added.”
It’s not the case with football.
It doesn’t happen in soccer or basketball.
It happens in football.
In football you don’t hear that.
It has to stop.
“Joe said that the “anti-Hero” culture in rugby was one that has gone on for so long and it’s now impacting on the players.”
The way we’ve come to accept it in sport is not that it’s acceptable, but that we need to accept that it exists and that there are bad players,” he explained.”
We have to accept we have to deal with it.
There is an acceptance that people can be bad and people can get hurt, and that is the reality.
“So I would like to think that in sport we’re starting to have a dialogue, with a lot of people saying we can accept it.
I think it’s about having that dialogue in sport.
We need to move forward.
It is a positive thing and it is going to take a while for things to change.
It took time to get to where we are now.
We just need a little bit more time to change.”
Joe Schmidt spoke to The Irish News at the book launch at the Sports Hotel in Dublin on Thursday.