Post Classifieds

Professional athletes coming out

By Erin Shriver
On February 26, 2014

Coming out is probably one of the hardest things a person would ever have to do. Doing so as a “normal” human being and having no spot light on your life would be hard, but what about the professional athletes?

Those athletes get criticized as well as honored for coming out to the entire world and sometimes their future is completely changed because of their decision to finally let people know what they have known their whole life. I bet that is a lot harder than just coming out to your close friends and family.

There are many professional athletes who have come out of the closet in the last few years. Some of the most popular names are: Michael Sam, a University of Missouri defensive lineman who came out in 2014; Jason Collins, a former NBA center for the Washington Wizards who came out in 2013 and became the first active male player in the four major American professional sports; Brittney Griner, a WNBA center, known best for being a three-time All-American at Baylor came out in 2013; Robbie Rogers, a retired MLS midfielder who came out in 2013; Orlando Cruz, an active professional featherweight boxer who came out in 2012; and Megan Rapione, a US Olympic soccer player who came out in 2012.

They all play different sports but when they came out, their stories all got equal airtime.

Many of the players’ teammates have been quoted about accepted them for whoever they are. Some of them had even been waiting for them to finally come out so that they did not have to hide that part of their life anymore.

When a player comes out, it is breaking news and everyone is talking about it, but when an athlete has children before marriage or has numerous “baby mommas” or “baby daddies” not a word is said.

Why do we make such a big deal out of someone’s sexual orientation? Both being gay and having sex before marriage, and let along having a child before marriage, are things our culture does not take so well. So shouldn’t they both be equal in importance and get equivalent airtime on ESPN?

Why is it that we are not surprised that some athletes have ten kids with five different women, but yet we are surprised and disgusted when an athlete comes out as gay?

Everyone knows that because of the large number of professional athletes out there, there have to be dozens, if not more, who are gay, but have not publicized it. They are not coming out because they do not want the press and the endless comments; they have to live their life in silence, and as a lie.

If an athlete is even rumored to be gay in today’s society, they make sure they team up with their PR person ASAP to make sure they make it perfectly clear otherwise.

I think it is sad that when an athlete comes out, there is such negative press and backlash associated with it. I wish that when they came out, it were something that was not even put on the news because it is a social norm and we should be more worried about the bigger and more important things in life.

Yes, I know that athletes are role models to many people, but their sexual orientation should not change that, and it should not change their ability to play the sport they love and are great at. If people have a problem with their teammate’s sexual orientation, they better get with the program of how today’s society works; gay is the new black.

It is becoming classic, common and no longer a headlining ESPN story.

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