England and Harlequins loosehead prop Joe Marler has been praised for speaking so openly about his mental health in a recent interview with The Daily Mail. The 30-year-old provided a candid and unembellished account of his battle with depression throughout his career, particularly after ‘Gypsygate’ in 2016 and after the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Given the uncompromising persona he has created on the field and his cheerful and light-hearted character off it, this revelation has shocked many people, which is why he has been praised all the more for opening up.
Former Scotland international Rory Lawson succinctly summarised what many others have shared online, saying on Twitter: “Joe Marler is so good for rugby. Yes, he’s had a few indiscretions along the way but he fronts up and talks in a candid, open manner that is so relatable. This article is an outstanding example of how perceptions can be so wrong when assessing headlines and on-field action.”
Similarly, England legend Jason Leonard said of Marler: “I truly hope his brave words help other players and fans alike if they are going through similar hard times.”
One of the main takeaways from this interview that has been echoed by many people on social media is that this could have a resounding impact on other players going through similar experiences as the Englishman.
The two-cap British and Irish Lion may not have necessarily ingratiated himself with fans around the world throughout his career for his antics on the field, but there are very few that are not full of admiration for what he has now done off it.
There has traditionally been a stigma around discussing mental health in rugby, and indeed all sport, but that is one that is rapidly eroding, and honesty like this will only help break down those barriers further.
Marler’s autobiography Loose Head will be released in October, which will provide greater depth into his battles throughout his career.
Joe Marler is so good for rugby. Yes, he’s had a few indiscretions along the way but he fronts up and talks in a candid, open manner that is so relatable. This article is an outstanding example of how perceptions can be so wrong when assessing headlines and on-field action. ?? https://t.co/Dq4tyPCzqh
— Rory Lawson (@rorylawson9) September 20, 2020
Huge credit to @joemarler for his complete honesty about his mental health battle.
I truly hope his brave words help other players and fans alike if they are going through similar hard times https://t.co/JSkiuQu1Bx
— Jason Leonard (@JasonLeonard114) September 20, 2020
— Tim Visser (@timbovisser) September 20, 2020
Joe, amazing bravery, we as a rugby community stand by and with you buddy (from a welsh fan). No matter what battle we may face, no matter where we come from, together we stand in line. All the best buddy. Stay safe dude.
— Danny (@dannyradford84) September 20, 2020
Wow. What an open and honest article which I think goes a long way towards people on the outside understanding this, and perhaps themselves, better. https://t.co/7rQbkaD8ns
— Jamie Williams (@beambeam1) September 20, 2020
It’s hard not to love @JoeMarler this interview really backs up the point of you don’t know what anyone is going through behind closed doors. So much respect for Joe and how honest he is in this interview https://t.co/xeBgMkOLSB
— Matt (@mattbrown_10) September 20, 2020
What a fantastically honest interview @JoeMarler. Your story really resonates and will be so helpful and insightful to others who don't have the courage to ask for help with their mental health. Well done mate. A powerful voice for others ?
— Paul Reynolds (@PaulRey65045012) September 20, 2020
When you have time take a moment to read this honest article in which @JoeMarler puts it on the table and opens up about his battle with his mental health. Maybe just send on the link to someone who maybe needs some confidence to put a hand up and get help with things in life. https://t.co/XCVm5oRE5e
— Ian Robinson (@IanRobinson_Ldn) September 20, 2020
What an honest interview. I hope so many learn from this that depression can effect anyone and seeking help is not being weak. Its bring strong. https://t.co/t4bXQgM2fr
— Nicky Green (@Nickyquin) September 21, 2020
@JoeMarler you have just made a difference to a lot of people lives. ?? *happy tears* ?? you’re amazing! No one is you and that is your super power! Keep going your journey is about to get a lot lighter. Thank you for sharing ?? https://t.co/tZ2Uv6zFuZ
— Emma Taylor (@Face8k) September 20, 2020
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