Media causes ‘coming out’ to be a spectacle for gay athletes

Published by adviser, Date: March 6, 2014
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Letter to the Editor,

 

When it comes to athletes coming out as gay, I don’t really care. If they’re gay, go for it. Congratulations. Good for you. Be who you are, accept yourself, and all of that good stuff. What bothers me is the media frenzy that follows. Why does the world have to make a big deal about it? Athletes are supposedly this ideal representation of masculinity, which, according to society, means they can’t be gay. Well, sorry to break it to you, there are gay men in professional sports.

Why does it all have to be a huge event? Why is an athlete’s sexual preference the biggest news in sports? It shouldn’t be. I shouldn’t turn on ESPN and have the topic of the day be an athlete’s homosexuality, just like I don’t care to see or hear about a different athlete’s heterosexuality. I turn on ESPN for the sports. Period. I hear these things about a new athlete coming out and the first thing I think is “Who cares?” How does who they’re having sex with affect the game?

Unfortunately, it does. Because of the media hype surrounding all of it, it changes the way things should happen. For instance, take Jason Collins. He came out as gay. Good for him. He tested out free agency last summer, but wasn’t invited to training camp by a team. Why? Because he isn’t very good. He’s averaged a humble 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds in 20.7 minutes per game over the course of his NBA career. Plus, the guy is 35-years-old. All of this doesn’t exactly make him desirable.

After being signed to a 10-day contract with the Nets, Collins became the first openly gay man to play in one of the four major professional sports. As one may have expected, he didn’t do so well. His first game left him scoreless with as many turnovers as he did rebounds and yet his jersey is the number one selling NBA jersey right now.

This annoys me. I admire athletes and what they can do. I don’t like someone playing for positive publicity. I don’t care what his sexual preference is; he does not deserve to be playing on a professional team right now. Like it or not, he was not signed to win basketball games. His best days are far behind him and even then he wasn’t all that great.

On the other hand, I don’t like when the media coverage negatively affects an athlete just because they happen to be gay. After Michael Sam announced he was gay, his draft stock fell significantly. Why his homosexuality will have any effect on his ability as an athlete is beyond me. While Michael Sam is not an extraordinary prospect, he could be a good addition to a lot teams in the NFL. Now, unfortunately, it seems as though most teams don’t want the attention from the media his signing will bring.

So who am I really angry with for all of this? I’m angry with the media for making everything such a spectacle. I’m angry at society for deciding that athletes should be straight to begin with and causing this mass hysteria whenever an athlete comes out as gay. Why can’t we focus on the athlete as an athlete? If they’re talented, let them play. If they aren’t, don’t put them in for show. Is that really too much to ask for?

Sincerely,

Name withheld by request

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