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Gay Athletes – Sports Editor’s Column

Gay athletes have been all over mainstream media lately.

From NBA player Jason Collins coming out and then becoming the first openly gay player to compete in an NBA game to Michael Sam, a standout at Missouri destined to become the first active gay player in the NFL, gay athletes coming out has been a hot topic over the past few months.

Combined with gay marriage being an issue nationally, it is time to just accept this kind of lifestyle and get on with it.

Numerous athletes have come out after their playing days ended: former NBA player John Amaechi and former NFL player Kwame Harris for example.

Did it affect the way they played? Despite not knowing, did their teammates treat them differently? Does it make that much difference coming out after an athlete ends his career than during it or before?

The answer to all of the above should be an empatic, “No.”

Being gay is becoming more and more normal across the country. Many states have legalized same-sex marriage. It is becoming more accepted nationwide and should be the same in sports.

Just how many former athletes are gay and we just never heard it about it. Probably many, but for some reason they never chose to disclose their sexuality publicly.

Being gay doesn’t make you any less of a person, athlete or human being. It just so happens that you choose to love someone of the same sex as you.

Even former athletes that aren’t gay are coming and admitting they knew some of their teammates were gay. And did it affect them in a negative way? No.

They have admitted that they would have accepted it. As long as said player or players were contributing to the team and helping them win games, it didn’t matter.

And it shouldn’t. Even now that current players are coming out, it shouldn’t.

Accept it. Move on. No matter what his or her sexual orientation is, the player is your teammate, your partner, your battery mate.

Every player is on the field, the diamond, the court for the same reason – to win games, titles and championships.

Unfortunately, the trend of athletes coming out is going to continue to make headlines for some time. It is that unusual – for now.

Eventually, it will be accepted with little fanfare just as it already should be. Because nowhere has it been proven that a gay athlete caused a team to play worse. It is time to accept it, move on and win.

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