[Vision2020] seattletimes.com: Straight or gay? Someday, we won't care

carlwestberg846 at hotmail.com carlwestberg846 at hotmail.com
Mon Oct 31 11:14:41 PST 2005

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Comments from sender: Figuring this dovetails nicely with the dominant topic this morning, Steve Kelley's column from this morning's Seattle Times.

Straight or gay? Someday, we won't care
Full story: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sports/2002594213_kell31.html

Someday it won't matter. Athletes will date, sleep with, live with whomever they want, whichever gender they want, and they won't need headline stories in national magazines to explain themselves.

Someday homophobia will die a quiet death. Living rooms and bedrooms will be private places. The innuendoes, the rumors, the silly whispers about the sexual preferences of superstars won't be fodder for newspapers and talk shows.

A generation from now, we'll be embarrassed by our obsession with such private, personal matters.

Mets catcher Mike Piazza won't feel compelled, as he was several seasons ago, to call a quick, impromptu news conference around the batting cage to refute a sleazy New York tabloid's insinuation that he was gay.

Golfer Rosie Jones, in the last year of a superb career, won't feel the need to stand up to the rumors and admit she's gay.

And perennial WNBA All-Star Sheryl Swoopes won't have to proclaim as she did last week in ESPN the Magazine that she is "out and proud."

This obsession is silly. There are Web sites that include the sexual orientation in athletes' biographies. If that is so important, why not make it part of the pregame introductions?


"And at center. He's 7 feet tall, out of Minnesota Tech, wearing number 32, a career heterosexual. . ."


"She's a point guard out of Tyler State, a third-year lesbian, at 5-foot-6, number 11. . ."


"He's a power forward and bi-curious. From California A&M, 6-foot-9, number 24. . . ."

That's how ridiculous all of this is.

Someday it won't take courage to do what Jones, Swoopes and, before them, Martina Navratilova, have done.

Someday athletes won't have to weigh the loss of commercial endorsements or gamble that they won't face hostile crowds, just because they're gay.

"Not being free to be who I am, not being OK with other people knowing who I am, it has been miserable," Swoopes said in the magazine story written with LZ Granderson.

(Her partner is Alisa Scott, an assistant coach with the Comets for the past seven years, who announced her resignation from the team last week.

Romantic relationships between players and their coaches are wrong, for any number of non-sexual reasons. But that is a column for another day. It doesn't have anything to do with the larger issue of an athlete's freedom of sexual choice that Swoopes has raised.)

Her issue is the silly prurience that still hangs heavily over sports specifically and this culture in general.

"Sexuality and gender don't change anyone's performance on the court," Swoopes said in the magazine.

"My biggest concern," she said, "is that people are going to look at my homosexuality and say to little girls -- whether they're white, black, Hispanic -- that I can't be their role model anymore. I don't want that to happen."

Swoopes has won three Olympic gold medals. She has played for four WNBA championship teams in Houston. She is a three-time league MVP. Arguably, she is the best woman ever to play the game. That should be the only story. She plays with a grace and control that defines the evolution of women's basketball.

Whether she's gay or straight should be immaterial.

Someday this hypocrisy will die a quiet death. There won't be any more whispers. Choices will be private and privacy will be respected.

"I'm content with who I am and who I'm with," Swoopes said in the magazine. "Whether people think that's right, whether they think it's wrong, I don't care."

Someday, probably a generation from now, a story like hers won't be news anymore. And we'll blush over the fact that it ever was.

Steve Kelley: 206-464-2176 or skelley at seattletimes.com. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/stevekelley


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