Earlier this week, UMass basketball player Derrick Gordon reignited the national conversation about gays in sports when he came out to his team and the world as a gay man. Since then, athletes across the board have been talking about the growing number of openly gay athletes. Recently, NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell commented on the matter and explained that the fight for inclusion for gay athletes is the same as the fight for inclusion for black athletes in the ‘60s.
According to the Associated Press, during a panel discussion about the Civil Rights Act at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, Russell discussed the lingering question about whether gay athletes will cause a disruption in locker rooms or if they’ll even be good in professional sports.
“It seems to me, a lot of questions about gay athletes, were the same questions they used to ask about us,” Russell said.
According to Russell, the only question he would have is, “can he play?”
Luckily for us all, sexuality, just like skin tone, has nothing to do with athleticism, and athletes like Jason Collins, Michael Sam and Brittney Griner are proving that their hard earned talent shines above their sexuality on the field and on the court.
As the number of LGBT athletes continue to increase, soon there may be the day where certain questions will be irrelevant and sports fans won’t even flinch at the idea of an LGBT player. – nicholas robinson