The rarity with which athletes come out and announce that they're gay speaks volumes about how tough it is. Forget coming out during their careers, most of these guys won’t even publicly come out after the fact.
And that totally understandable reluctance is what makes Orlando Cruz and his announcement on Wednesday all the more meaningful.
Cruz, the No. 4 ranked featherweight in the world according to the World Boxing Organzation, came out with this statement yesterday:
"I've been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself,” he said (via USA Today).
"I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career. I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man."
It will definitely be interesting to see how the boxing community responds to this news. There is a general consensus among regular people that homophobia reigns supreme in sports – particularly in combat sports. If guys come out and support Cruz, it would dispel a lot of myths regarding how close-minded and bigoted athletes really are.
We’ll see what happens, though.
(Kudos USA Today)