I’m late in getting to this, but last week on NBC’s Today, Matt Lauer said:
It’s interesting that in 2013, with attitudes towards homosexuality changing so dramatically in this country, there isn’t a single major athlete in a major professional sport playing right now who has come out and said, ‘I’m gay.’ Why is that?…
I have a possible answer, and a new question.
My answer is: For much the same reason that straight athletes don’t come out and say “I’m straight.” It’s irrelevant. Not every activity or field is one where the customers (spectators) need any information about the producers’ (athletes’) personal lives.
Part of what we love about athletes is their focus on something wonderfully beyond themselves: which is the sport, the game, the discipline it takes to be a winning athlete. Call me crazy, but I find it distasteful when any athlete, gay or straight, insists on my knowing whom they ‘like’ or are dating. I only care about their dedication to (and success with) their sport.
Which brings me to my question: why, in 2013, would Lauer think this is important? This isn’t the 1980s, wherein gays had to battle sodomy laws, or the total absence of gay-straight alliances at schools, or certain professional bans. Today we even have States scrambling to support gay marriage. Lauer’s question itself assumes there are lots of gay pro athletes – so, no real job discrimination.
I must admit that I thought like Lauer did in, say, 1993. Some years later, I came into the 21st century. Join me, Matt!
(Hat tip: reader Peter H.)