Athletes Come Out

“Ballet dancers and hairdressers and drag queens made it safe for
football players to come out and not the other way around.”
 
Dan Savage puts Carl Nassib’s coming out into the context of those who came before him.

Another week, another coming out story.  This time, Carl Nassib made a bit of history.  The defensive lineman from the Las Vegas Raiders made a wonderfully matter-of-fact video announcing that he’s gay.  Not only that, he also pledged $100K to The Trevor Project – and informed the uninitiated about the work they do with their 24/7, 365-day-a-year suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ+ youths.  What was more staggering was the response from the public – mostly positive.

When the criticism came, it was primarily from the gay community.  Many noted that Carl was not the first pro-footballer to come out – that was Michael Sam.  Some hypothesize that Nassib is being praised because he’s white, while Sam is black.  It bears mentioning that although Sam came out as a college senior and was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, he never actually played for the NFL – he was cut preseason.  His professional career was spent with the Montreal Alouettes – which reminds me of a song I learned as a tyke.  Perhaps if Michael had not gone public six years ago, the climate for Carl would not be so welcoming.  Be that as it may, I applaud anybody who comes out – regardless of their skin tone.

Leave it to Shecky Behar to make one of her trademark Borscht Belt quips.  While discussing Carl’s coming out on The View, Joy said, “After they said penetration in the end zone, they lost me.”  I bet that KILLED in the Catskills…after Jell-O!  The other ladies looked…well, horrified.  The segment closed with Joy saying, “By the way, that inappropriate joke I made for daytime television – scratch it.  Make believe I never said it.”  Done.

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Champion figure skater Jason Brown also made headlines.  “I believe that love will always win, and every story will unfold differently for each individual.  Mine unfolds a bit now.  I’m gay, and that’s a story still being written.”  One of the first people to offer congratulations was fellow skater, Adam Rippon.  “Your skating is equally as beautiful as you are as a human.  You an incredible person.  HAPPY PRIDE, Jason.  SO MUCH love for you.”

 

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