High school children across the US are forming gay and straight student alliances. More and more athletes in colleges and universities are coming out to their teams. The National Basketball Association, National Football League and Major League Baseball all have anti-LGBT discrimination clauses in their contracts with players’ unions. Despite all of this, no player in a major US sports has come out. Are they cowards?
This provocative question was handled by the HBO show Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. The inquiry seems even more pertinent with featherweight Orlando Cruz’s recent announcement. Cyd Zeigler, who runs the site Outsports, was one of the people interviewed in the segment.
‘If it happened next week, it wouldn’t surprise me,’ Zeigler wrote about a professional sportsman coming out. ‘If it didn’t happen for another three years, that wouldn’t surprise me either. These guys are so afraid of the unknown, they can’t see what’s right in front of them: That it’s going to be just fine.’
ESPN writer LZ Granderson and former NFL player Wade Davis are also interviewed in the segment. Granderson appears to agree with Zeigler that the time is ripe for someone to step out of the shadows. Not only would he be a role model to youngsters, his announcement would be welcomed with open arms. Davis feels its unfair to make assumptions about fears someone considers legitimate and that coming out should be a personal choice.
Zeigler reminds the HBO segment and his site agree on one essential point.
‘…The case is laid out throughout the piece that, as we’ve said on Outsports for years, the first openly gay pro athlete won’t just be fine — He’ll become a better player and make more money because of it.’