Over the past year, as society has grown increasingly tolerant of gay marriage and the idea of letting people live however they want to live, many have posed this question: Why are there no openly gay athletes in any of the four major sports?
It stands to reason that there currently has to be at least one gay athlete in the NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL – yet nobody has ever come out. Guys have come out after the fact, sure; but nobody has ever admitted to being gay while actively participating in one of the aforementioned leagues.
Obviously gay athletes fear the reaction they’ll get from their teammates, coaches and fans.
Which in turn brings us to the next obvious question: should they? Should they fear the reaction?
In short: yes.
Whenever current athletes are asked about how they would react to a gay teammate, more often than not the answer is very P.C. Be it because they just aren’t comfortable admitting their negative perceptions of homosexuality or because they genuinely aren’t aware of how they would treat said teammate, you almost never hear a pro athlete acknowledge that the situation would make them uncomfortable.
As written by Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times:
…former Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, among baseball's most thoughtful and intelligent players, isn't kidding when he says an "out" teammate could divide a team.
"For me, as a Christian … I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it's not right," he says. "It will be difficult and uncomfortable."
Hunter will undoubtedly catch a lot of flak for that comment – but he shouldn’t. The people who should be chastised are the ones who aren’t aware of their own negative perceptions of gays until they inevitably start mistreating them. It’s the guys whose sentences begin with, “I’m not homophobic, but…” who are the problem. Those are the guys you can’t debate or reason with, because they are blind to their own true feelings on the subject.
Here is to hoping that, rather than ostracizing Hunter for having the guts to say what is undoubtedly true for a fairly substantial percentage of pro athletes, folks instead sit down and have a rational conversation with the Tigers outfielder. He may never change his outlook on having gay teammates, but he is far more likely to listen and take in the other side’s point than someone who is content dismissing the issue by saying “everything is fine” when that’s clearly not the case.
(Kudos Los Angeles Times)