Rick Welts: Will Suns President Change the Way We Look at Gay Athletes?
Rick Welts Came Out of the Closet, Will It Change the Sports Landscape?
Sometimes, it just takes one person to help change history.
Starting with Sean Avery coming out in support of gay marriage, there has been a lot of discussion about gay athletes and sports, and even though this person doesn't take part in any on-court action, Phoenix Suns president Rick Welts bravely came out of the closet and said that he was gay.
It's not easy to do that, especially in sports, where the culture overwhelms the atmosphere and makes it hard for gay men and women to come forward and admit who they really are to their teammates and fans. We'd be naive to say that there aren't gay athletes in our sports; in fact, in all likelihood, the reality is that some of our top stars are probably gay.
Stars don't want to come out because they're afraid of being the face of a cause and being labeled as "the gay athlete." In an era where your brand is almost as important as what you do on the field or court of play, most famous athletes don't want to risk the exposure and loss of revenue that coming out of the closet might cause.
It's not right and it's not fair how people have to go through this life because of the perception that their lifestyle isn't tolerated or accepted by a contingent of fans, but hopefully these stories of brave men and women stepping forward inspire more people to do so, because it's about time that we had a more open and honest sports society.
If not for the players who have to suffer behind closed doors, then for us as fans so we can be more open-minded as people and a society.
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