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Now that Michael Sam has been drafted in the NFL by the St. Louis
Rams, we look into his chances of making the roster and playing as
an openly gay player. Sam made national news by coming out as
openly gay in February.
On Saturday, he was taken in the 7th round by the St. Louis Rams
and his kiss with his boyfriend became the talk of the sports
world. Now that he has a team, the question will be whether Sam can
make the Rams' roster.
Outsports has been publishing for 15 years, ever since Jim Buzinski and Cyd Zeigler sat down at a coffee house on Cape Cod and came up with the idea. Since then they have covered gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues in sports like no other, carrying more coming-out stories in sports than any other publication in the world.
We look back at some of the stories we've felt were more important over the last 15 years, the changes we've seen, and some of the key lessons we've learned.
Dale Scott celebrated his 30th year as a Major League Baseball umpire, and his first as an openly gay man. Scott talks about how little was made of his sexuality this season, and why that's a good thing. "I am extremely grateful that Major League Baseball has always judged me on my work and nothing else and that's the way it should be." Scott also realizes the power of coming out based on the amount of email he received from other LGBT people thanking him for his honesty.
Why was it so cool that NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall had his fingernails painted by Stephen Colbert? Football players aren't supposed to do things like this. Yet more and more we see barriers breaking down in big-time football, including the NFL.
This week we had a former running back at Montana State come out on Outsports. Brandon Davis talked about being afraid to be his true self at Louisiana Tech and finding a home with the rugby team at Montana State after leaving football. The Buffalo Bills today announced the hiring of the NFL's first full-time female coach.
We discuss all of this, plus some thoughts on this weekend's games.
Outsports was in the middle of the planning and breaking of the Michael Sam story. We talk about what we knew, when we knew it, and what the road ahead looks like for Michael.
When New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was taunted on the field several weeks ago with gay slurs, it left many wondering about the root of homophobia in the NFL and why Beckham retaliated with dangerous, potentially life-threatening hits.
On MSNBC's Melissa Harris Perry show last week, Jamil Smith of the New Republic said the root of homophobia is a hatred of women. Jamil joins us as we explore the connections between homophobia and sexism and how far we can go when connecting those two with the word "hate."
We'll also invariably touch on the NFL playoffs, Billy Bean's new promotion and what lies ahead for Outsports in the new year.
Houston voters this week overwhelmingly voted to end Houston's equal rights ordinance, which gave non-discrimination protections to LGBT people, among others. With 61% of the vote, it's clear that voters in Houston very much want the ability to discriminate against LGBT people, particularly the T.
Immediately there were calls for the NCAA and NFL to move their upcoming men's Final Four and Super Bowl. Yet both organizations very quickly said, "nah, we're good." Despite both groups doing some work to help end anti-LGBT bias and homophobia in their organizations, the legalization of discrimination in Houston simply wasn't a big deal. What message are they sending to Houstonians and other anti-LGBT groups in other cities? Will they empower other cities to rescind their non-discrimination laws?
Also, Ryan Mizner, a graduate assistant for the Central Michigan Univ. men's basketball team, has come out as gay. He shared his story with Outsports and talked about the support he has received from his team. Another domino falls.
Chris Burns, an assistant men's basketball coach at Bryant University, has come out as gay, making him the first publicly out men's college basketball coach. Burns shared a personal story on Outsports and USA Today did a feature story interviewing Burns and others at Bryant.
It's been a long time coming for Burns, who has been dating men since college. It's also a big deal for the coaching profession in general, as Burns has broken a key barrier in sports. And, like virtually every male athlete or coach to come out publicly over the last 15 years, Burns has been widely accepted and supported by people around the team and across the college basketball media.
There are rumors swirling around the English Premier League that gay pro soccer players may be coming out publicly soon. Should we believe the speculation? And have these kinds of rumors panned out in the past?
The New York Giants have been ahead of the curve on LGBT issues for almost a decade. Now they add a You Can Play video with several Giants players to their inclusion portfolio.
We first met Harrison Wilkerson last year when he was still in high school, the star kicker of his school's football team, closeted and scared. He had been the target of some bullying and feared what the repercussions would be if he came out to his friends and teammates in North Carolina. Since Outsports ran his story earlier this week, he has been inundated with supportive messages, even getting a wonderful Facebook post from his grandmother. He's also heard from some people struggling with depression as he once did.
Three men in sports chose to come out publicly this week: NBA referee Bill Kennedy, Dodgers executive Erik Braverman and Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller. Each of them has a different story, but they all have one thing in common: Many people in their profession and their personal lives knew they were gay. So why did they come out to the media now? And what do they hope to accomplish?
Kennedy's coming out was in response to Rajon Rondo calling him a gay slur multiple times. The NBA first hid that fact, then acknowledged it once Kennedy came out. We talk about Rondo's suspension and the handling of the situation by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
Plus, we have some year-end awards we've given out, with more coming. We'll recap why the honorees have been selected, and we'll give a preview of the rest of the awards.
In 2004, then-Dartmouth lacrosse goalie Andrew Goldstein wrote a powerful piece for Outsports about coming out to his lacrosse team. Since then, Andrew has played professional lacrosse, moved to Los Angeles, got married and is now on his way to curing cancer. Earlier this year he met Braeden, a young lacrosse player who was struggling with being gay. Goldstein knew he had to do something to help Braeden. This Sunday, Aug. 30, ESPN will air the story of Andrew, Braeden and the Courage Game that helped save young Braeden's life. We'll talk to Andrew about the story and his last 10 years.
This week a closeted gay high school football official in Louisiana wrote about his experiences there with homophobia and sexism. More and more gay officials are now talking with us about the environment they face from fans and from their fellow referees. We'll talk about the forgotten corner of the sports world and how we'll make it better.
Andrea Barone is working toward his dream of being an NHL ref. But he first had to find peace with himself. "I don’t want anyone to feel as alone and depressed as I did," he writes in a first-person account for Outsports. Barone, 26, is the first openly gay referee in pro hockey and he talks about fitting into a culture that prizes masculinity. He dealt with his own homophobia and over time learned to accept himself. He is now out and wants to be a role model for others in the sport.
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