Professional sports are the last bastions of gay social exclusion in the U.S., at least in terms of popular culture. There are currently no openly gay professional athletes in the four major commercial sports (baseball, football, basketball and hockey). However, that could be changing. As the Washington Post reports:
On Sunday, University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam was rated as the 90th-best prospect in May’s National Football League draft. The next morning, the 24-year-old all-American had slipped to No. 160. Only one thing had changed: On Sunday night, Sam announced he is gay. …
Patrick Crayton, a veteran wide receiver who spent the 2013 preseason with the New Orleans Saints, tweeted Sunday night that Sam should “stay in the closet.” Jonathan Vilma, a Saints linebacker, said during an NFL Network interview last week that he had concerns about showering and dressing with a gay teammate nearby.
As another WaPo piece put it, Sam “might be arrested in Vladimir Putin’s Russia just for stepping on a scale.”
The magnitude of social change toward gay people in the developed Western world (Europe, America/Canada, Australia/New Zealand), evidenced by the acceptance of marriage equality, highlights professional sports as one of the last holdouts (along, of course, with conservative religious denominations). But football, like the Boy Scouts, is or ought to be embracing of all, since it’s viewed as part of essential Americana. Challenging and overcoming that remaining bastion is now just a matter of time.
More. Frank Bruni writes: “A news flash for every straight man out there: You’ve been naked in front of a gay man.”
Furthermore. This is inspiring.
Plus, an all-too-true comparison via Instapundit.