The issue of homosexuality in sports has recently become a hot topic. Homophobic slurs by players and coaches like Joakim Noah, Kobe Bryant, and Roger McDowell have been accompanied by a load of negative publicity and almost sparked a rallying cry in support of the gay community. While many will argue the aforementioned people did not intend for the terms to be hateful toward gay people, their actions show a lack of awareness toward a sensitive issue.
On the flip side, we have had athletes like Sean Avery speak out in support of the gay community while teams like the San Francisco Giants joined the “It Gets Better” gay movement with a support video. Former Villanova star Will Sheridan also recently revealed he is gay. He also revealed that his homosexuality was not an issue for any of his Wildcat teammates or coaches. According to Steve Nash, NBA players would react to a gay teammate in the same way Sheridan’s teammates reacted.
“If a player in the locker room came out, it would come and go quickly, too,” Nash told the NY Times via CBSSports.com. “I really don’t think it’s a big issue anymore. I think it would be surprisingly accepted, and a shorter shelf life than maybe we would imagine. I think the time has come when it should happen soon. I think it will be something that won’t take on this life of its own. It won’t be the O. J. trial.”
Although that is only one man’s opinion, Nash is likely speaking for a lot of people. Charles Barkley even emphatically stated that everyone has played with gay teammates before and that has nothing to do with the kind of teammate they are. Will there be some people who can’t handle it? Yes, but there are people out there who have a problem with religions and races, too. Why would a player’s sexual orientation be any different?
I think Nash said it perfectly when he said it would have a “shorter shelf life” than people expect. The buzz would likely be pretty intense at first, but then things would fizzle out. When Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley recently came out, the local news outlets were buzzing — for about 24 hours, if that. There are more pressing issues in the world.Google+