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When will the first gay active pro athlete come out?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, May 22, 2011.

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  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I get the feeling that it will be imminent. Just think of all the developments in recent years. The gay magazine piece that claimed the writer was dating a well-known MLBer. John Amaechi. Brendan Burke. The former Chargers player. The NBA executive. Charles Barkley's recent quotes. Will Sheridan.

    I say by 2016, we will have multiple out professional athletes in major sports. (WNBA doesn't count.) My guess is a foreign-born NBA player will be the first.

    What say you?
  2. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    How do you think it would happen?

    There's just not much to be gained for the athlete. It would take an incredibly strong person who would be willing to be both a role model and pioneer and who would be wiling to put up with some discrimination and ignorance.

    In every city, he would be asked questions about it.

    And, I think it would have to be a star, otherwise it would overwhelm a lesser player.

    But a star would also have to factor in commercial opportunities.

    The best chance for this to happen may be for someone who's been out since high school or college to make it to the pros.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Coming out would also relieve a lot of pressure, not just bring it on.

    I imagine that such a person would be receiving a lot of pressure from the gay community to come out.
  4. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    I don't know about that.

    I think most people -- gay or straight -- realize it's a personal decision. Rosie O'Donnell & Ellen DeGeneres were both long assumed to be gay. And, while I know many wanted them to come out, I'm not sure they were pressured.

    They came out when they were comfortable enough with the decision (to come out) and when they were secure in their careers.
  5. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    The rapture will arrive first.
  6. Azrael

    Azrael Active Member

    The dissent:

  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    When Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers in 1947, some astronomical percentage of Americans didn't support interracial marriage.

    Just recently, for the first time, Gallup's poll results show that more than half of Americans support same-sex marriage.

    The marriage question is just a barometer of the public's feelings about the issue, a canary in the coal mine, but I think it's a pretty strong barometer. Every year, the circumstances become more and more amenable for coming out.

    Someone will seize the opportunity at a kind of immortality, particularly in a country where the cost is clearly beginning to recede below the benefit.
  8. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

  9. ringer

    ringer Member

    Already happened. Renee Richards (ne Richard Raskin) in the 1970s.

    When it happens again, I suspect the public will react with a big yawn. Other active players will probably be more polarized by it, but in an age where so many of the most popular entertainers in the world have come out as gay or bi... it seems like the stigma (for fans anyway) has faded dramatically.

    Therefore, as a journalist, I'm starting to wonder whether and why we should make such a big deal of athlete coming out -- especially now when we have to add all sorts of qualifiers like: first MALE pro to come out IN A BIG FOUR SPORT. Or first MALE athlete to come out WHILE COMPETING AS A PRO. Such qualifiers also discount all the other gay athletes who have come before them -- in an era when it was much riskier to do so because the stigma was greater.
  10. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    Oh, it will be a big deal.
  11. MightyMouse

    MightyMouse Member

    I had this conversation with a coworker the other day, and my answer was "never."

    But I'll qualify my answer to include team sports (baseball, basketball, hockey, football, etc...). I think it would be easier (though by no means easy) for a tennis player, golfer, swimmer, sprinter to come out.

    Hard to say when this would happen. I think tolerance comes after the fact.

    I don't know that the first person to come out would ever feel comfortable doing so. But I think it would be easier for those who followed the early few who blazed the trail.
  12. Azrael

    Azrael Active Member

    Renee Richards wasn't gay. Renee Richards was a transsexual. She also wasn't a famous athlete by any stretch of the imagination. She was a doctor. She became famous only after her reassignment surgery.

    Richards' early adult life featured Richard and Renee in alternating ascendance. "I've been asked many times why I didn't simply live the life of a homosexual," she writes. "This question is asked by those who do not understand that Dick was a heterosexual male and that Renee was a heterosexual female. Dick had no sexual interest in men and, when Renee fantasized, she fantasized the pleasures of sex as a woman with a vagina."

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