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Co-founder of Outsports walks back on calling closeted pro athletes ‘cowards’

Co-founder of Outsports walks back on calling closeted pro athletes ‘cowards’

In an article published in the Washington Blade last Wednesday, journalist Cyd Ziegler, who’s the co-founder and co-editor of the LGBTQ sports news website OutSports, called professional athletes who are gay but still in the closet ‘cowards.’

‘All professional sports leagues are quote-unquote ready for an out player. But the gay athletes are just afraid. They’re cowards,’ Ziegler told the Blade.

He continued: ‘The definition of a coward is somebody who lets fear govern his actions. And the gay athletes in the major men’s professional sports today are cowards. And even worse than the athletes that are active in sports are the dozens or hundreds of gay athletes who are retired who won’t come out.’

‘I mean, they have nothing to lose in the sports world,’ he added. ‘And for them to not come out really shows the disdain for the mental health of America’s youth.’

Ziegler’s accusation is obviously uncalled and deeply disrespectful. Essentially, he’s shaming people for not coming out publicly, which makes one ask, how much different is he from the general public who shame those who have come out then?

Just look at Caitlyn Jenner and all the hate she’s been getting from within and without the community ever since she came out as trans last year.

‘Nothing to lose in the sports world’? Yes, maybe. But it’s safe to say that Jenner’s public image and personal relations will never be the same again, for better or for worse.

Indeed, it’s a sad reality that LGBTQ athletes are shamed for not coming out, and then shamed further when they do.

For Ziegler to simplify the issue of coming out to only the good — excluding the bad, the ugly and the complicated that come together — not only make him sound ignorant, it’s almost embarrassing, given that he is an out gay man who has worked extensively on LGBTQ matters for many years.

Ziegler has since issued a heartfelt apology though, in which he repeatedly condemned his wrongly spoken words.

‘I apologise to every gay professional athlete whom I maligned with this language and these concepts,’ he wrote. ‘I am sorry. I will do better.’

He has also made a video to clarify his stance, and in it, he shared that it was his frustration with the lack of out athletes and coaches in men’s professional sports in recent years that led to the inexcusable, unjustified statements he made.


Would you accept his apology and explanation?

And do you think pro athletes who are LGBTQ have the moral obligation to come out?