New York Giants’ defensive end Michael Strahan isn’t going to great lengths to defend against rumors of his being gay, despite his ex-wife’s claims. The trouble began last March when Strahan filed for divorce from his wife Jean, who then proceeded to file a domestic violence complaint against him (which was quickly dismissed). Fast forward to last week to divorce court when Jean claimed Michael lived an “alternative lifestyle.” But, as the New York Daily News’ Michael O’Keeffe notes, Strahan didn’t take the typical route of a professional athlete denying he’s gay (read: He’s not Mike Piazza, who held a press conference to announce his heterosexuality).
The New York Giants’ defensive end didn’t hold a hastily organized press conference to loudly proclaim his love for the ladies. He didn’t head to a trendy nightclub and pose for the paparazzi with the finest-looking women he could find.
Instead, Strahan went to a gym in the West Village, the birthplace of the gay rights movement. He went to dinner at a Meatpacking District hotspot with Ian Smith, the TV doctor Jean Strahan had suggested was his lover (Smith, who is married, says he is not gay). He told a New York radio station that he had many friends who were gay or bisexual and that he was cool with that.
“This is New York City,” Strahan said during a brief phone call to the station. “If you can’t accept people for being people, then you have no business being here.”
Cue the requisite debate over whether professional sports are becoming more tolerant toward gays in their midst. Is one professional athlete – who still holds the small possibility of not even begin gay – having a more rational reaction to homosexuality going to change the industry? Certainly not. But a move like this could certainly be Giant.