Does Being Gay in Sports Matter?

Does Being Gay in Sports Matter?

By Katelynn Rise

Staff Writer

Imagine yourself watching your favorite sports team on television. There are just seconds left in the game and you are one point away from winning it all.

 

You get the pleasurable feeling of screaming at the TV screen while watching your team make its way to victory. When the final point is made, you jump up and down celebrating the team’s hard work and accomplishments. The MVP is named and everyone rallies around the person in celebration. But when the MVP of the game is named, should it matter if the MVP of your winning (or even your losing) team is homosexual?

 

Michael Sam could have been one of these players. Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL in 2014 and was a defensive end for the St. Louis Rams until the final roster needed to be finalized, and Sam was cut from the team. Many people believe that his sexuality was the reason for his dismissal from the team’s roster.

 

Unfortunately, sexuality is effecting who gets recognition for their hard work and their athletic abilities. Thankfully for the lovely media in America, Michael Sam’s coming out was made into a much bigger deal than it should have been. Sam’s face, his name and his sexuality were all over ESPN and the internet.

 

Instead of focusing on this young man’s potential as a football player in the NFL, they decided to focus on how a gay man would shower with a team full of men that were heterosexual (as far as we know). Since when does a man taking a shower have to do with anything relevant to the game of football, or any other sport for that matter? Oh right, it doesn’t.

 

This is not going to be the last time that an athlete will identify themselves as gay, and sadly this will not be the last time that an openly gay athlete gets their reputation or their career put in jeopardy because of homophobic tendencies. What needs to be learned from Michael Sam’s story is that it is not your sexual orientation that defines you, but rather what you do that makes you the kind of person that people will look up to and admire.

Sam’s sexuality off the field was being brought into his world on the field, causing an unacceptable amount of intolerance and judgment to his career. His talent, hard work and dedication were overlooked simply because of the type of people he found attractive.

 

Michael Sam’s story is not all bad though. He was recently nominated as one of GQ’s Men of the Year Award, won an Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2014 EPSY Awards and was a finalist for Sportsman of the Year Award.

 

So does being gay in the world of sports matter? No! Because being gay doesn’t make you less of an athlete. If an athlete is talented, dedicated and ready to give his or her all for their team, their sexuality does not matter in sports.

 

The Cougar Chronicle The independent student news site of California