Professional hockey player Sean Avery recently told reporters that he would support and stand behind (funny choice of words) any player in his sport that decides to come out of the closet. It’s 2011 and with everything we’ve seen up until now, you know it won’t be long before an athlete, rapper, singer or someone that is highly regarded is going to pop out of the closet like it’s spring cleaning. The question is: When that happens, will you be ready? Can America handle an openly gay athlete? When Magic Johnson made the world aware that he was HIV positive, most of his fellow NBA players were ignorant enough to think if they were to be touched or sweated on by Magic that they would end up with the disease. Although having HIV and being gay are two totally different things, they both are things that the masses frown upon and are ignorant to in the sports world.
I personally have no idea how the world would react to an openly gay athlete but there’s a part of me that thinks most will be willing to accept the notion and actually support him. I recently asked online “If you found out your favorite singer/rapper was directing his/her love song to a person of the same sex would they still be your favorite?” And surprisingly the majority of the answers were yes. So why wouldn’t a football player making a tackle and yelling out “I’m a pony, woo hoo!” in celebration be accepted?
Honestly I don’t think a gay player would hurt a sport, as long as he doesn’t come out for the national anthem with a tied up bedazzled jersey on, I don’t see the fans caring too much, but then again, the fans don’t have to be in the locker rooms. One would have to wonder who would the situation be the most awkward for, the gay players or the straight guys they have to play with all year (No pun)? And would one player coming out cause a domino affect to where players just start jumping out of closets like Robin Hood’s merry men jumping out of trees.
The thing with men and sports is that they are looked at as being macho and super hero-esqe and a feminine player would go completely against that image. But what if he’s macho? What if he’s just a regular guy, no femininity at all just an all-star player that happens to be gay? Would that make a difference? Would the talent level matter? Should any of it matter?
With all that being said, as long as he doesn’t bring back short basketball shorts, run on the football field in jeggings with glitter paint on his jersey number, constantly popping and smacking his gum while on the baseball diamond or go to his hockey game with MAC eye shadow on under his eyes, it might not be a problem. As long as he respects the game I don’t see why anyone should give a damn about what he does in his personal life.
This is a guarantee though, the first player that comes out will make history in whatever sport he plays in and will reach the top in jersey sales. So again America….are you ready?