In a world with so many beliefs, opinions and hatred, it’s not surprising to understand why very few professional athletes have come out with their sexuality. The sporting world is driven by money, endorsements and sponsors and unfortunately, narrow-minded observers. To date, there have been hundreds of athletes of all sports that have come out either during their playing career or after retirement, but no athlete in the 4 major sports (NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB) has ever come out during their playing career. Can this be changed?
Last month, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who has long been an activist for gay rights, announced that he believes as many as 4 players in the National Football League, who are currently playing, could announce their sexuality within the very near future. Ayanbadejo’s proclamation was met with both rejoice and caution. Some players such as New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, said they would welcome a gay teammate in his locker room and wouldn’t judge them differently. Many other players, whom remain nameless, have proclaimed that it would cause dissension and conflict in most NFL locker rooms, because of male teammates’ homophobia. In any event, an announcement like this with 4 athletes would open the doors for the other 3 major sports organizations and their athletes who might be wrestling with the decision.
As a heterosexual male who long played competitive sports, I would find no problem having a homosexual teammate. As a team, you’re goal is to support your fellow teammates on and off the playing surface. Regardless of their sexual preference, if they show up, play to their potential and are a loyal teammate, I’d welcome them any time!