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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

What effect will Phoenix Suns CEO Rick Welts' coming out of the closet have on gays in sports?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (33005points) May 17th, 2011

The CEO of the Phoenix Suns, Rick Welts, declared his homosexuality in an article published yesterday in the New York Times. (Link)

In today’s Washington Post, he says he’s received much support. (Link) He also mentions that it’s a different thing for him to come out of the closet than a player.

In a separate Washington Post article, NBA All-Star player Charles Barkley reveals that there are many gays in the sport. He states pointedly that sexual orientation should not matter in professional sports.

Will any of this have a positive effect on acceptance of gays in sports?

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7 Answers

marinelife's avatar

It would be nice if it would, but chances are that it won’t.

Blackberry's avatar

It’s too early to tell, but knowing many sports fans, I don’t think we’ll see much acceptance.
“Ayo! Did ja see my man Tim on the court last night?!”
“Ayo! Isn’t he a fuckin’ gay?!”
“Is he?”
“Yeah man, he came out the closet last night, man!”
“Awww man, fuck Tim!”

wundayatta's avatar

Every additional person will have a small effect. Eventually it will be enough to say that we have general acceptance. But it isn’t the same as if he was a player. That would have a much larger symbolic impact. He may be in sports, but he doesn’t play. Players—it seems to me—are the true macho dingbats and if one of them comes out, then I think people will start to think that it is much more prevalent than they thought.

bkcunningham's avatar

Good for Rick Welts. Good for the acceptance of gays in sports? I don’t think that many people around the world know Welts name or will care one way or another. Even if I know his association with the NBA, I don’t know anything about him as a person. I don’t automatically say, “Oh, he’s gay and came out. Great!” What if he’s not a good person or what if he and I lived beside each other and I thought he was a horrible neighbor? Do you know what I mean?

Alvin Gentry, the Suns coach, said he “sorta knew already.” I’m sure a lot of people “sorta knew already.” I really don’t think people who are just finding out will care. Those that do, uhh, oh well. There are more important things in the world to be concerned about, IMHO, than a professional athlete’s sexual preferences. Be it Rick Welts or Tiger Woods.

Bill Tilden, Tom Waddell, David Kopay, Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Bob Paris, Ed Gallagher, Jerry Smith, Dave Pallone, Bruce Hayes, Justin Fashanu, Matthew Hall, Roy Simmons, David Slattery, Glenn Burke, Greg Louganis, Missy Giove, Ian Roberts, Muffin Spencer-Devlin, Rudy Galindo, Doug Mattis, David Pichler, Patrick Jeffery, Michael Muska, Paul Prior, Brian Oser and many, many, many more. Welts is added to the list. People watch and follow sports for reasons other than the fact the owner, coach or player is gay or straight.

lawkes's avatar

This will have a negative effect on gays in general because this displays stupidity.

Who the hell declares their sexual orientation? He’s an idiot. Norm Mcdonald Point

Seelix's avatar

Unfortunately, probably not much.

Mr. Fiance and I were talking about this a week or so ago. Recently, Sean Avery of the New York Rangers appeared in a pro-gay marriage ad, which led to a player agent being fired for tweeting his disapproval. Avery didn’t come out as gay—he has a girlfriend and is straight. But he did say something to the effect of he would support any gay player in pro sports and stand behind them as they came out to their teammates.

I think that there’s still a whole lot of testosterone in pro sports, and you hear “fag” being thrown around all the time as an insult. Welts’ coming out is a definite step, but there’s still a long way to go.

FutureMemory's avatar

Long overdue. I hope more people in pro sports come out of the closet.

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