Former Villanova basketball player Will Sheridan publicly revealed he is gay in an article by Dana O’Neil that was published Monday. Sheridan, who played for Villanova from 2003-2007, says he first opened up to teammate Mike Nardi and that by the time he was done playing all his teammates knew about his sexuality. We also learned that though the news was never made public, it was somewhat known around the Philadelphia area. According to the article, Sheridan “quietly and privately dated a man from another Philadelphia school.”
Sheridan’s sexuality didn’t seem to bother his team, but it did make him the target for opposing fans. “I remember at some games, especially St. Joe’s games, they were unreal,” Sheridan told O’Neil. “At first I was like, ‘My grandma is sitting right there,”‘ Sheridan said. “And as a human being you feel it when people say nasty things. But then I thought, ‘That’s just stupid. If you were gay, you’d like to do [those things], too.”
Even if Sheridan had it tough in some road venues, it seems like he had the support of his team.
Villanova coach Jay Wright says he had no idea “After I found out, I was like, ‘Did you know?’ And all the guys, they were like, ‘Yeah, Coach, we knew,'” Wright said. “They just didn’t care and I guess I was just oblivious.”
Though Sheridan’s team appeared to be accepting of his homosexuality, his family was not.
The article, which is a recommended read, says Sheridan’s parents struggled with the news. Will’s father even cut him off financially and emotionally, thinking that his son was making a lifestyle choice rather than understanding it was just who he was. It took about a year before Will Sr. finally accepted his son, but he still believes his son is making a lifestyle choice and that his choice will eventually change.
Sheridan’s revelation is pretty eye-opening, and I have to wonder why he didn’t wait to release his first rap music video the day the news came out. Gotta ride the wave of publicity, right? But seriously it’s good to know that despite what Tim Hardaway and other homophobic athletes say, at least one college basketball team accepted their teammate for who he was. That’s progress and it leads me to believe we’re getting closer to the point where athletes won’t fear revealing who they are. Then again, with the way fan taunts were at St. Joe’s, it would take one courageous player to come out while he’s playing because of what he’d have to face.Google+