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James Haskell: The same problems face sport and society

The former England rugby union international turned author, podcaster and DJ opens up about how married life and fatherhood have changed him, why he doesn't have any regrets, and reveals his take on some of the biggest issues facing sport and society, including toxic masculinity, woke culture and elite transgender competition
James Haskell
James Haskell

James Haskell is a former international rugby union player who made 77 appearances for England between 2007 and 2019, and represented the British and Irish Lions on the 2017 tour to New Zealand. He spent the majority of his club career at London Wasps, making 210 appearances in two spells between 2002-2009 and 2013-2019. Following his retirement from rugby he’s started a second international career as a DJ. He is also a prolific author, writing books on health, fitness and motivation, and podcaster, currently hosting The Good, The Bad & The Rugby podcast with Mike Tindall and Alex Payne. Follow him on Instagram and X. Visit jameshaskell.komi.io.

James Haskell: Under The Skin interview

For most people, one hugely successful international career would be more than enough. But James Haskell isn’t most people.

After more than a decade of playing rugby union for England and some of the biggest club sides in the world, James hung up his boots only to pick up his headphones and begin a second career as an international DJ.

While James is the first to admit he was never the most talented rugby player, he still managed to rise to the top with a peerless work ethic and commitment. How hopeful is he that he can now find the same success in music as he did in sport?

To find out, Unfiltered’s editor-in-chief Joe Warner met James in Ibiza where he regularly DJs to ask him about his career highs and lows, and his achievements and regrets, as well as get his view on some of the biggest issues facing sport and society at large.

In an honest, wide-ranging and in-depth interview, and in typical forthright fashion, James doesn’t pull any punches in a conversation which covers:

Why he doesn’t look back on his past misdemeanours with regret – and how he has channeled his negative experiences into being a better person

How attending an all-boys boarding school and playing rugby left him looking at women in clubs as ‘sex objects’ – and why he would never send his daughter to a same-sex school

The frustration he felt when he was labelled a ‘misogynist’ for comments he made about women’s rugby

Why he feels sorry for the ‘morons’ who troll his wife Chloe Madeley on social media

How fatherhood has changed him and made him more emotional, and why he has cried more in the last year than the rest of his life put together

His fears for his daughter growing up is the dangerous world of social media

How ‘toxic masculinity’ is not the problem facing society – the problem is the lack of masculinity and woke culture that causes so many men to “become lost”

The unfairness of transgender athletes competing in their non-biological birth category

The dangers of performance enhancing drugs to both amateur and professional athletes

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