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THE BOOK OF MARMON: 9/28/12

Travis Marmon

 

Last weekend, former Pittsburgh Pirates owner and CEO Kevin McClatchy publicly announced that he is gay. He told  ESPN that he chose to stay closeted because he felt that the baseball world was homophobic. McClatchy is the second sports executive to make such an announcement in recent history — then-Phoenix Suns president and CEO Rick Welts spoke about his homosexuality in May of last year.

While McClatchy’s story seems to have been lost in the fall sports shuffle between football and the MLB playoff race, it is an important step in the quest for more openness in sports. The Pirates may not have been a winning franchise during McClatchy’s tenure, but he was instrumental in keeping the team in Pittsburgh and building PNC Park, which today is considered one of the best ballparks in baseball and a big factor in their recent improvement.

Welts was president of the Suns during a period when they were one of the strongest and most exciting teams in the NBA. He is now the president of the Golden State Warriors, a struggling franchise under a new regime that is looking to build back up to its former glory days. It says something that a team has chosen the first openly gay executive in the history of major American sports to help lead it in a new direction: they  clearly trust him.

The mere existence of two solid executives who happen to be gay could open many doors for homosexuals in the sporting world. Two gay men have now proven that they can do the job better than many straight ones. If homosexuals can run a franchise, why couldn’t they coach one or even play for one? If you were a player raised with a homophobic view of things, would it change your opinion if a gay man were giving you your seven-figure paycheck every week?

Sadly, there was another, more negative gay sports story that hit the Internet this weekend. During Texas A&M’s beatdown of South Carolina State on Saturday, two male fans embraced and kissed following a touchdown. This is considered perfectly normal behavior for a straight couple at a football game, but the Aggie message boards were aflame with hatred after an image of the televised kiss surfaced. Comments such as “thanks a lot Obama” and “two dudes making out is messed up and not normal” were typical from the A&M faithful on TexAgs.com.

Even ignoring the fact that the average football game is 100 times more homoerotic than “two dudes making out,” it is shameful that two adults kissing on the campus of a university in 21st-century America can be so openly scorned and criticized by fans of that same school.

It’s one thing to have an uneducated and backwards opinion, but sports are supposed to be unifying. Fear of your favorite team being associated with social progress is pathetic, and that fear will continue to make it extremely difficult for gay athletes to feel comfortable in the foreseeable future.

Hopefully, young gay (and straight) athletes will pay more attention to the stories of McClatchy and Welts proving that they can have success in the sports world. Maybe they will look to the endorsement of gay marriage by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, or Charles Barkley’s comparisons of sexual discrimination to racial discrimination.

These stories are not making big waves in sports media, but they prove that there is hope out there for a more open sports world.

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2 Responses to “THE BOOK OF MARMON: 9/28/12”

  1. Kim Young says:

    Travis has expressed this so much better than I could have. Bravo for the courage & wisdom to state that one’s sexual orientation has no bearing on one’s athletic or business ability. Keep up the outstanding reporting, Travis!

  2. Jennifer Little says:

    Well written and opinioned! You should be writing for a larger audience!

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