Philly's Search for an Out Pro Athlete

BY Michelle Garcia

December 31 2011 1:15 PM ET

Writer Robert Huber does the math: with the number of professional athletes playing on Philadelphia's teams, including the Phillies for baseball, and the Eagles for football, the 76ers for basketball, and so on, there must be at least a few gay players in the City of Brotherly Love. But in his quest to find out whether there are gay male players, he also found that some players know it might be simply uncomfortable to dress alongside another athlete, knowing he's gay.

For the January issue of Philadelphia magazine, Huber interviewed 20 members of the Philadelphia Eagles, some of whom said they were uncomfortable by the idea of sharing a locker room with a gay team mates. Others said they weren't worried, but that other team mates might find the notion uncomfortable.

According to the report, there are at least three gay athletes playing
in the NFL right now, but they are closeted. Brian Sims, a former
college football star who came out during his senior year at Bloomsburg
University, knows the three football players, but none were willing to
talk on record or anonymously. Additionally, former NBA player John
Amaechi, who came out in 2007 after retiring, quipped that there are so
many gay baseball, basketball, and football players right now, that "if
they got together, it would not be a small meeting."

"There’s no doubt that some of our prime Philadelphia sporting heroes—players we’ve rooted for over the years—are gay," Huber writes. "A lot of them, in fact. Just do the math. A generally accepted rule of thumb suggests that 10 percent of the population is homosexual. There are more than 100 players currently on our four local pro teams. So it’s clear that whatever teams we get behind, some of the players we’re now applauding or booing are gay. Over the years, of course, thousands of athletes have graced the Philly sporting scene. Scores of them were undoubtedly gay, too."

Still, Outsport's Jim Buzinski said he sees the atmosphere changing in sports, which will allow for a gay male player to eventually come out to his team mates, and the media.



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