Monday 14 October 2019

'This is a weird thing to explain' - football pundit Richie Sadlier reveals he was sexually abused as a child

RTE pundit Richie Sadlier.
RTE pundit Richie Sadlier.
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

FOOTBALL pundit Richie Sadlier has revealed he was sexually abused as a child.

Sadlier (40) has for the first time spoken out about how, while undergoing treatment for a sports injury, he was abused by the man treating him.

"I was sexually abused when I was a young lad. I was 14 years old and it was over a period of about six weeks," he said, speaking on the Late Late Show last night.

"I would play along with his little nice guy act afterwards," he said, adding that he didn’t tell his friends or family at the time.

The popular broadcaster spoke about how he blamed himself for what happened.

"My interpretation of what happened was, this was my failure," he told host Ryan Tubridy.

"I almost gave him a free pass and this is a weird thing to explain."

He said he tormented himself with questions about why he didn’t run and why he went back to the treatment.

"My thoughts were completely bonkers about the whole thing."

"My life back then, football was everything for me," he said.

"I never really caused any bother to anyone."

Sadlier said he was very confused, silent and afraid when in the room with his abuser, who passed away a number of years ago.

He said, later looking back on what happened, he would ask himself "what the f*** were you doing?"

Sadlier said he made various attempts to speak about it over the years. At one time who told an adult at a training session, who treated it like a joke.

On another occasion, he told a friend at a party who told him to never tell anybody about what happened

He turned to alcohol and, after retiring from football at the age of 24 when he would no longer be tested, he started taking drugs.

Sadlier said that going to therapy and talking about it eventually helped him. He stopped drinking when he was 32.

Walking though the Phoneix Park one day he told his mother, who he said was fantastic.

Asked why he had decided now to talk out about it, he said it was because he was in a "pretty good place" in his life and was ready.

Sadlier has since taken to social media to thank people for their reaction to his interview.

"A lot to be said for talking about what you’ve been through when you’re comfy to do so. Thanks for all the lovely messages about last night’s chat with Ryan," he tweeted.

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