NBA veteran Jason Collins took a big step for gay athletes everywhere when he became the first openly gay athlete in a major American sport back in April. Darren Young may have a similar impact on professional wrestling as he made the same announcement in a candid interview with TMZ.
After being asked if a gay wrestler could succeed in WWE, Young casually revealed to the interviewer that he is, in fact, gay.
"Absolutely," he said. "Look at me. I'm a WWE superstar, and to be honest with you, I'll tell you right now—I'm gay. And I'm happy. I'm very happy."
Will Darren Young's announcement pave the way for other gay wrestlers?
The news might be jarring to some, but the nonchalant manner in which Young made his announcement was perhaps the bigger surprise.
There were no bells and whistles involved; Young didn't call for a news conference or anything of that nature. TMZ is infamous for its ambush interview style, and it appears as though Young's spot was no different. It seemed like a spontaneous decision on Young's part, and he should be commended for that.
WWE's "Be a STAR" program has been great for the company's image in recent years, as it preaches having an appreciation for everyone regardless of how they choose to live their lives. WWE executive vice president Stephanie McMahon furthered that notion, expressing support for Young in a tweet.
Congratulations to @DarrenYoungWWE for being the first openly gay WWE Superstar!— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) August 15, 2013
The support didn't stop there, as one of WWE's top superstars, John Cena, made it clear that he was very happy to hear that Young made the decision to come out publicly.
"Oh wonderful," Cena said. "I know Darren personally. Darren's a great guy. That's a very bold move for him. And congratulations for him for actually finally doing it."
WWE chief operating officer Triple H echoed those sentiments on Twitter and congratulated Young for having the bravery necessary to make the announcement that he did.
Fellow WWE superstar and tag-team partner Titus O'Neil also took to Twitter to issue his support:
Perhaps the most significant nod of approval came from WWE chairman Vince McMahon as he praised Young on Twitter as well.
I respect @DarrenYoungWWE's decision to come out and am happy to see the support from the WWE Universe.— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) August 16, 2013
When asked if he hoped to make a difference by announcing that he is gay, Young admitted that doing so is something that would mean a lot to him.
I hope so. I'm hoping to be able to make a difference. It's very important to me that people understand that somebody's sexual preference shouldn't really matter. It should be about the person.
The interview took place on Wednesday at Los Angeles International Airport. Young, one half of the Prime Time Players alongside O'Neil, is in town along with WWE's other superstars for SummerSlam.
While the PTP tag-team isn't booked for SummerSlam, Young has already made a bigger impact out of the ring than he ever could have in it.
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