Wednesday, February 07, 2007

First NBA Player to Announce He's Gay [J. Mark English]

A former Orlando Magic player will announce that he is gay in an upcoming book, becoming the first NBA player to come out publicly, according to an Internet report.

John Amaechi, who played at Penn State and for five seasons in the NBA, will make the declaration in a book entitled "Man in the Middle," according to The book will be published by ESPN Books and is due to be released later this month.

Few other men's professional major sport athletes have announced they are gay. Among them are football player Esera Tuaolo and baseball player Billy Bean.

Amaechi, born in Massachusetts but raised in England, a 6-foot-10 center, played for Orlando, Cleveland and Utah during five NBA seasons. He averaged 6.2 points and 2.6 rebounds before retiring in 2003.

He is currently known in Britain as a television personality and for helping fund the Amaechi Basketball Center in Manchester, according to the report.

Comment -

One would have to be naive to believe that there are not current players who may be in the "closet". I can only imagine the fear they might have of ever being found out. Its a sad world that we live in when someones sexual orientation should be ostracized.

Most teenagers that are confused as to what their sexual orientation may be, and slowly begin to realize that they prefer men to females, find themselves stricken with fear with admitting publicly who they really are. Many of these young people contemplate suicide, and many actually do commit suicide. Our society should not look to cause fear among persons who happen to like people of their own sex.

I understand the macho nature of sports leads to the repudiation of people who may be gay. But this is not excuse for causing fear among people who have different persuasions. Shame on us, and shame on our sports locker rooms that cause fear in many people who are good, but must live in the shadows to hide who they truly are.

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