By: Baylee VanKirk
In recent weeks WNBA star Brittney Griner admitted to being gay. On April 29, Jason Collins, a current NBA player, announced that he is gay and had been afraid to announce for awhile now. This sparked a debate in the sports world: how do other players feel about playing with gay people?
Although the first professional athlete to come out was Sherryl Swoops on 2005, the media feels that with these recent announcements, a domino effect will be created. Collins was the first major male sports player to come out while still playing. There have been players admit that they were gay, but it was sometime after they had retired from sports.
Collins and Griner have received nothing but good reactions from everybody including the President of the United States. People may not speak out in fear that their disagreement could hurt their own reputations. If they do say something against the LGBT community, then they could have lawsuits against them, their team, and the league.
Griner and Collins have set the standard now, so other gay athletes should not be afraid. The intimidation factor is not completely gone, but it is certainly lessened. The fear of a team, coach, or players not accepting them onto their team is still a great possibility. Some players do not feel comfortable being in the same locker room, shower, or even playing field with a gay athlete.
Mike Wallace, a wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins, tweeted hours after Jason Collins announced he was gay: “All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH (shakin' my head) …”
He got a lot of scrutiny just for saying his opinion. When the 49ers organization found out about this they made him do a public apology and say he did not mean any of it. Many people think this is not right because he was saying his personal feelings. He is one of the only people to come out against gays.
The fact that athletes are gay does not hurt their ability to play, but it might hurt their ability to get on a team. The fact that people are announcing it now is going to create an uproar if a team does not accept it. Take Collins for example, his contract ran out with the Washington Wizards. If he does not sign with somebody else, then the whole league will be torn down by media. This just creates problems because the teams’ decisions to hire and fire will always be in question now.
I’m not saying that being gay is wrong and they should not be proud of it, but it could cause problems for athletes and sports in the future.