Tuesday 19 November is International Men’s Day, an important day on the calendar for a number of reasons.
It’s a day to “make a difference for men and boys” and tackles issues. Including the high male suicide rate, mental health and social problems.
We’re taking a look at the sportsmen who have been, and still are, making a difference inside and outside sport. Through speaking up about mental health and other struggles, as well as those who are doing good work for charity.
Ex-footballers David Beckham and Didier Drogba have been involved in widely publicised ventures in Africa. While boxer Tyson Fury pledged to donate his purse from the Deontay Wilder fight to the homeless.
Before last year’s World Cup, Kylian Mbappe revealed he was giving his £17,000-per-match appearance fees to a charity. Providing sporting activities for disabled children.
Here are four sportsmen who we think deserve special recognition:
- England footballer Danny Rose
Just before last year’s World Cup, England and Tottenham defender. Danny Rose revealed he had been living with depression. Which he says was triggered by a combination of injury and family tragedy. He disclosed his illness in a frank interview and was later praised by Prince William. For his honesty and bravery in speaking out. But Rose claims his revelation was brought up during talks about a possible transfer later that summer.
- Spain footballer Juan Mata
When Juan Mata launched his Common Goal initiative, he said he hoped to “change the world, even if only in some small way”. The Manchester United midfielder pledged to donate 1% of his salary to charity, and called for fellow footballers to join him in doing the same. “I am leading this effort, but I don’t want to be alone,” he said. And two years on, more than 130 people have joined him.
- Former Wales rugby player Gareth Thomas
Former Wales rugby union captain Gareth Thomas revealed he is HIV positive, and wants to “break the stigma” around the condition. Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009, is thought to be the first UK sportsman to go public about living with the virus. Since making the announcement, support for the 45-year-old ex-British and Irish Lions skipper has flooded in. It included a message from the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, who said: “Gareth, you are an absolute legend! In sharing your story of being HIV+, you are saving lives and shattering stigma, by showing you can be strong and resilient while living with HIV.” He filmed the documentary HIV and Me which aired in October, and was met with further praise from fans calling him a “hero”.
- Ex-England footballer Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand’s wife, Rebecca, died of breast cancer in May 2015, aged 34, and since then he has spoken openly about how life has changed for him and their children. This has included filming a Bafta-winning documentary called ‘Being Mum and Dad’, in which he took viewers and fans on his personal journey on coping with grief, and how he was helping his three children. In sharing his personal journey with the nation, he was praised for showing people should “talk more” and “not shy away” from grief.
Important subjects, and incredible bravery. Happy International Men’s Day.