Professional Boxer Orlando Cruz Reminds Us He Came Out First


Orlando Cruz wants to clear up any misconception the media has in proclaiming Jason Collins‘ announcement as the first out professional male athlete.

“He is the first active gay basketball player,” Cruz stated to NBC Latino. “But I was the first in boxing. I feel very happy that I’m inspiring other athletes to gain the courage to do the same.”

Not that there’s any competition for the milestone achievement (and, yes, we know there are out female athletes), Cruz just acknowledged that he understands the difficult decision faced by Collins.

“I understand the physical and mental preparation that Collins went through to make the announcement,” Cruz said, who also reveals he often cried every night in the years before he came out because he couldn’t be open about his orientation.

Cruz said his hometown in Puerto Rico and his fellow boxing teammates were very accepting when he came out publicly and he’s certain Collins will greeted the same way.

“Coming out does not make him less of a man because he is a great athlete,” Cruz said. “He is living the dream of every high school kid who wants to play basketball. He should always keep his self-esteem up because he has the right to be where he is like any other athlete.”

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  • fredo777

    some folks might have their gripes about cruz making this clarification, but i can’t really say i blame him for it.

  • Dionte

    He is right, but when people think of major sports the ones that come to mind are NBA NFL maybe NHL.

  • 2eo

    @Dionte: Or Football, Rugby and Cricket, with it’s 5 times as many viewers and audience in the billions.

    Names like Gareth Thomas are worth far more as an entity in the whole world than any US athlete.

  • tookietookie

    Now what we need is a lesbian tennis player!

  • Kieran

    I’m glad he’s out and proud, but now he needs to win his fights and kick some hetero

  • Hansolo

    @2eo Maybe if you live in India…..the only thing I agree with is Football but cricket ….rugby really?

  • CalgaryBill

    Not to take anything away from these guys, wasn’t Martina Navratilova the 1st out world-class athlete?

  • tookietookie

    @CalgaryBill: She’s a woman so it doesn’t count *tongue-in-cheek*.

  • Truth Addict

    At one time in this country, boxing was second only to baseball in popularity. But, every media outlet I heard made it clear that he was the first male in any of the four major sports. Sadly, boxing is not in that group anymore. :-(

  • balehead

    He’s right and he’s still bringing it!!

  • balehead

    It’s because Jason Collins has a contract with Nike…it’s all about money as usual…

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