My best friend is gay. I was at a gay bar (albeit a "sports" one) for 5 hours on Saturday night. I love all things gay. I support gay marriage, gay adoption, LGBT equality, ENDA, you name it, if it helps the gays, I would vote for it if I were registered (I don't vote but I do a lot of op-ed pieces so fuck off). I don't believe in Don't Ask, Don't Tell, I think it's pathetic and people who wish to keep it as protocol have never honestly met a gay person. I feel it's important to preface this post as such because I don't want people to think I'm going into it unbiased. I am totally biased. Anyone who knows a gay person - legitimately has a gay person in their lives - should feel the same way.
Sports and gays are very much, to me, like the military and gays. It's a super masculinized environment with a lot of nudity and a lot of religion (football and God go together like bacon fat and ice cream in the south). Which means there is a lot of hostility toward gays. I simply just do not believe that in sports like, say, the NFL, there are 32 teams each with approximately 52 guys, and all of them are straight. Like, in more than 1660 guys, you're telling me not ONE GUY likes the peen? I'm sorry, in 2/3 of the prominent boyband groups of the last 20 years, 2 dudes have been gay and I'm sorry, Howie from BSB, totally questionable, I don't care that he's married. Give me a fucking break.
The main guys I've known to be the out athletes are as follows:
Billy Bean - Bean played for the Tigers and the Dodgers. He did a huge article in I think 2000 if I remember correctly about living a lie, being married for 9 years to a lady, and playing in a game the day his lover died.
Mark Bingham is another one who isn't very well known, but a lot of people know because of 9/11. Dude was a hard core rugby player for Cal State. I mean, HUGE. 6'5" 240lbs. He was also aboard Flight 93 on 9/11 and helped rush the cockpit that day to prevent the dbags from blowing up more shit. Yeah, dude really sounds like a "fag", right?
John Amaechi is the most current I can think of. But he came out post-NBA career, and then encouraged gay athletes to stay in the closet, which I think was kind of dick...
My favorite story though was last year when the captain of SUNY Oneonta (if you're from NY you know it) lacrosse came out. It got a lot of national press because the whole team totally embraced the dude and he really stood up for, in my opinion, gay athletes across the country. Plus, he's a fucking fox, Google him - Andrew McIntosh. To me, this is what male-dominated sports need more of - leaders like this kid who are respected on the field and off to make a point that if you simply are who you are and play the game and do your job, who you fuck at home means nothing. Plus, it doesn't help that he's really hot.
And finally, the only world's current professional male athlete on a team who is out, is Gareth Thomas. Dude plays rugby in the UK and is insanely good at his job. Anyone who dares say "fag" or "pansy" or "pussy" or "faggot" or any other term implying the remotest sense of weakness because of his sexuality should think twice if they like their teef in their mouth. This guy could kick the shit out of anyone. But another sad case - dude got married to his childhood sweetheart because that's what straight rugby players do - they marry and bang chicks with vaginas. They eventually got a divorce. In 2009, he told the Daily Mail, the UK's top rag, that he was gay. And I mean, rugby is a pretty fucking masculine sport, dude. This guy isn't fucking dancing onto that field in Elton John boas and hot pink stockings, let's be real.
I wish I had a better answer for Jason, who asked if there is any hope for gay jersey chasers. I mean, my first response is "fuck yeah" because like I said, there's no way 1660 dudes in the NFL are straight. Multiply that by other sports, and I mean, the potential only grows (I can think of at least 7 soccer players who have questionable sexuality). It's not whether they are or not that's the problem - it's whether they are cool with it or not. If they admit it to themselves, act on it. If they're on the DL, if they are faking a marriage, if they fuck a lot of pussy to seem like a typical guy while they go home and watch gay porn...I mean, a lot of guys don't want to risk their careers and unfortunately, no one can guarantee that coming out won't ruin a guy's career (which to me is bullshit). You have Christian groups that might protest his involvement, you have assholes who refuse to shower with him in the locker room, you have idiots who think being gay means being weak or non-masculine. Dudes like Andrew McIntosh and, sadly in retrospect, Mark Bingham, prove that isn't the case - just like some straight dudes like ballet and cooking and cats but still love to bang vagina, some gay dudes like sports and hitting each other and being athletic, but like to go home and play with dong.
The more that gays are being accepted in the world and the US, the more I hope people can cross barriers in terms of being gay and playing sports (or on the flip side, being straight and ballroom dancing). While I don't know if these guys would welcome jersey chasers with open arms, Jason makes a fabulous point - these guys could make out (no pun in tended) just as well as their straight counterparts. I know my best friend - who is a gay man in a straight man's everything - would love a guy who was masculine and sporty and rugged.
These guys should definitely not be ashamed, and it's sad that someone who might enjoy so much success in life through athletics might have to hide who they are and deny themselves happiness to maintain that success, when dudes like Tiger Woods can go fucking the entire slut brigade at Scores and still be "respected". I hope that guys like Andrew McIntosh and Gareth Thomas pave the way for many more athletes to take their whole life into their own hands and be entirely happy with who they are - as an athlete and as a gay man.