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Do LGBT athletes have a responsibility to come out?

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Over the years we at Outsports have seen the incredible power that athletes, coaches and other people in sports coming out can have on not just their sport but youth they will never meet. Even today we got wind of a 17-year-old gay aspiring umpire who has been inspired by the coming out story of MLB umpire Dale Scott.

Yet there are precious few out LGBT professional athletes, particularly men. They choose to not come out due to a host of reasons, from their own playing career to endorsement deals - they fear they could lose any or all of them if they come out. 

Do they have a social responsibility to come out anyway? Should athetes weigh the inspiration they can provide, and the social change they can help move along, over their own personal wealth and playing career? And do their fears have any merit in the first place?

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