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Steve Nash Says Gay NBA Player Would Not Be an Issue

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.”

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Former Villanova Basketball Player Will Sheridan Reveals He Is Gay

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.

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Sean Avery Extends Support for Gay Hockey Players

If we were to tell you an NHL player spoke out in support of gay hockey players, I doubt the first name to come to mind would be Sean Avery. Avery is the guy who smacks goalies in the head with his stick and has unsportsmanlike conduct rules created on his behalf, not the guy who supports a group that is discriminated against.  Or is he?

On Thursday, Avery told the Toronto Sun that he is willing to support any player who is gay and worried about the consequences of coming out and openly revealing his sexual orientation.

“If there’s a kid in Canada or wherever, who is playing and really loves the game and wants to keep playing but he’s worried about coming out, I’d tell him to pick up the phone and call (NHLPA executive director) Donald Fehr and tell him to book me a (plane) ticket,” Avery said. “I’ll stand beside him in the dressing room while he tells his teammates he is gay. Maybe if Sean Avery is there, they would have less of a problem with it.”

Wait, what? Is this the same Sean Avery that referred to his ex-girlfriend as “sloppy seconds?”  I don’t know if I buy it.  If he’s serious, you have to commend Avery even if he is a major d-bag.  I’m sure there are plenty of gay players scattered about professional athletics, and one of the most significant challenges they face is having to keep their sexual preference a secret from their teammates.  Support from uber-heterosexual chauvinists like Avery would probably help influence others to support gay players.

In any event, congratulations to Sean Avery for opening his mouth and not saying something obnoxious.