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UK Rugby Player: I'm a 'Better Person' After Gay Slur Ban

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Sunday Jul 20, 2014
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Zak Hardaker
Zak Hardaker  (Source:YouTube)

British Rugby League player Zak Hardaker said this week that his recent training on LGBT issues with the LGBT rugby team the Manchester Canalsiders has helped him become "a better person" after he was banned from five-matches for using an anti-gay slur.

Last month Hardaker, a 22-year-old Leeds full-back, was charged with a grade E offense and was hit with a five-game ban, plus a $500 fine by a Rugby Football League independent disciplinary tribunal after he called another player a "fucking faggot" in May.

Hardaker asked to train with the LGBT rugby team the Manchester Canalsiders and now says he's "learned what you can and can't say," from the experience, the Advocate reports.

"I try to enjoy myself and live life to the full," he said. "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."

The athlete went on to say: "They recognized it was just a heat of the moment comment and I am really thankful for their support. I think it has helped to raise certain issues, including the profile of the club, so that's great. I have learned what you can and can't say and how it affects different people. These five weeks out have felt like an eternity. But it's given me time to dwell on things and I am sure I am a better person now."

Hardaker played with the LGBT sports team and also toured with Manchester's Canal Street to meet members of the LGBT community.

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