QUESTION: What Needs To Be Done To Get Team Sports Players To Come Out?

Los Angeles Galaxy v Columbus CrewEarlier this year, former Boston Celtics center Jason Collins rocked the NBA by coming out, yet he remains a free agent.

The plan to have our first openly gay NFL player fell apart earlier this year.

Though there is a sizable contingent of hot gay swimmers and divers including (of course) Tom Daley, both he and Olympian Matthew Mitcham are examples of how we dominate individual but not team sports. As of today, there is only one openly gay sports star on a professional team — the L.A. Galaxy’s Robbie Rogers.

With such an obvious disparity, we pose the question to you, Queerty readers:

What needs to be done to get team sports players to come out?

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  • Spike

    And we have our first Tom Daley post of the day!

  • jwrappaport

    Good luck with that. Professional sports is one of the last bastions of machismo and misogyny that remains socially uncontroversial for some rea$on.

  • KDub

    1. It would help if a player could get signed after coming out.

    2. The gay community itself is extremely divided between masc and fem. Fems are usually at the forefront of all things gay-related in the media. Great for fems but one of the drawbacks is that a lot of masc/athletic types don’t come out because they don’t want to be associated with stereotypical gay male images they don’t fit. Just look at the amount of out femmy athletes in less masculine sports like swimming, figure skating and cheerleading that seemingly had no problems coming out. More NFL/NBA/MLB athletes will come out the more masculinity is made synonymous with homosexual.

  • ariniah724

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  • MikeE

    @KDub: I used to play in a mixed gay/straight baseball league. And the most aggressively competitive players in the entire league were: incredibly effeminate gay men.

    The strongest athletes in the entire league (around 300 players) were evenly matched up between really queeny gay guys and regular-joe straight guys.

    The regular-joe gay guys weren’t really that good. And the big butch macho gay guys tended to be more fun to look at than to watch (ie: they looked GREAT in the uniform, but honestly, you don’t want them on your team).

  • alterego1980

    One could say that an athlete needs a supportive locker room in order to come out. That’s not something we can offer. If by chance it was made very clear that the locker room supported a gay player’s coming out, maybe the player would be open around his team but I still think that he would not make it public in case he is traded or because it might effect his next contract (with that or another team).
    It really is a non gay-friendly industry from top to bottom. The strides made over the past two years with teams/leagues/players speaking out in support has been truly amazing given the overall culture. But it is indicative of the change. It will happen, but it will be a little while. and they will not be like dominoes. Each one will be motivated by personal circumstances.

  • Kieran

    The obvious answer to that is to end the stereotyping of gay men as soft, swishy and effeminate. Homophobic people have used those nelly stereotypes to keep gay men ashamed and closeted for generations. There needs to be an all out assault on ending the old stereotypes. Queerty can help by stop referring to any gay person that comes out as “queen” or “girlfriend”. Not all gay men aspire to be Doris Day.

  • ZaneStuart

    @Spike: You were just waiting for it weren’t you?!

  • Kangol

    I think some may fear current and future contracts. Look at Kerry Rhodes. He allegedly was on the verge of being signed, asked for too much money, and that was it; despite his talent and the evident help he could bring to another NFL team, NO ONE seems willing to sign him.

    Then there was that other player who was on the verge of being signed, and it was all set to go and then when Jason Collins came out, that supposedly upset the team, and the player didn’t get signed.

    It’ll take a brave player, probably at the end of his career but with a year or two to go, and a brave, supportive team, from ownership all the way to staff people, in a supportive city, for someone to follow Jason Collins out of the closet.

    But more will be coming out soon, I think. And hope.

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