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Should Professional Athletes Have to Hide Their Sexuality?

Some recent comments by a couple of professional athletes show there is still a stigma in the locker room if the public knows an athlete is gay.

In the macho world of professional sports, athletes always want to come across as the tough guy, both in and out of the playing arena.

Last week, Detroit Tigers center fielder Torii Hunter told the Los Angeles Times that an "out teammate could divide a team."

"For me, as a Christian," Hunter told the Times, "... I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it's not right," he said. "It will be difficult and uncomfortable."

Hunter later said he was misquoted.

Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes Tweeted earlier this season, "I have nothing against homosexuals or spiders but I'd still scream if I found one in my bathtub."

Spikes later said he was just joking.

There have been some athletes who have revealed their homosexuality after their careers were over, notably NFL player Esera Tuaolo, MLB player Billy Bean and NBA player John Amaechi, who wrote a book about his experience as a pro athlete who felt he needed to hide his sexuality to protect his career.

What do you think? Should professional athletes have to hide their sexuality? Tell us in the comments.

Mark Cain January 05, 2013 at 12:38 PM
If one came out and distracted the team he or she should be let go. As a fan who pays good money and time supporting the team I don't want a team that can't concentrate on the task at hand. Don't waste my time.
Karen L January 05, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Noone should have to hide their sexuality.
Danielle Lizotte January 05, 2013 at 12:59 PM
I'm sure some Dodger's players found it hard to "concentrate" with Jackie Robinson around in the 1940's. Hopefully we'll get to a day where a person's sexual orientation is as meaningless as the color of one's skin when it comes to judging an athlete's worth, but that may take a generation or two.
Pat Cordeiro Allen January 05, 2013 at 01:03 PM
Mark - if a player is distracted by what another player does during off time, maybe that player should be let go. Why do some straight people get "distracted" by others who are gay.
Jean January 05, 2013 at 01:45 PM
its not a question of "hiding". its about ego-maniacal celebrities thinking we should care about them other than their what then do. celebs/aesthetes are not the brightest bulbs, just play ball and shut up.
Susan LaDue January 05, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Danielle's Jackie Robinson comment is right on. It will take some time, but the teams will deal with it if management and the coaching staffs insist on inclusive behavior. The degree of difficulty depends largely on whether coaches and managers consistently react negatively to discriminatory behavior. Bill Belichek should call Brandon Spikes "Mr. Just Joking" out on his comment and management should fine him. Locker room talk must not be allowed to be anti-gay either.
Jon McGrath January 05, 2013 at 02:42 PM
If he's scoring a goal or driving in a run for my team on the ice or on the field, I don't care what team he's playing for after the game.
Paul Bishop January 05, 2013 at 02:48 PM
What makes their workplace different than any other, under the law? Nothing. "Just Joking" like this in most companies would get you in a lot of trouble, and in some cases, simply fired. Would be okay if instead of homosexual, the comment was "white guy"? That's the argument of the "people" who think this type of thing is okay.
Townie January 05, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Everything seemed to work just fine when it was kept in the closet. Leave well enough alone.
Paul Bishop January 05, 2013 at 03:59 PM
The point is that they won't leave well enough alone, Townie. These players are going out of their way to make discriminatory remarks.. it is THEY who are volunteering hatred and bias. I am sorry if volunteering bias and discrimination seems like the "right thing" because it's been accepted for so long... but having done the wrong thing and gotten away with it does not actually make it the right thing!
Doug Melanson January 05, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Nope. This is 2013 and all players should be proffesional enough and adult enough to not care what sexuality someone is. They are payed HUGE money to play a game. If someone is disctracted by someones sexuality they have the problem. I am all for people having an opinion on it but keep it to yourself and do your job.
Barbara Laws January 05, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Personally, I don't think its anybody's business. If he or she wants to, its their personal choice. We live in modern times so except what's happening today.
GM January 06, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Seems to me that the more appropriate question is why is it so important for professional athletes to highlight their sexuality in the first place? If the issue is just one of having one's behavior become apparent through routine relationships outside of work, then to me, the next question is this -- what expectations of personal privacy are reasonable for people to have in sensitive environments like athletic team locker rooms? We have male and female locker rooms, presumably because we believe it's appropriate for males and females to have a degree of privacy between the sexes. As we become more accepting of homosexuality in our society, what should the standard of privacy be for members of the same sex, some of whom are attracted to other members of the same sex? Shouldn't the standard of privacy be the same in all cases? Maybe Brandon Spikes' joke wasn't a message of hatred but just an expression of the personal privacy he would like to think he has in the locker room,
Tim Maple January 06, 2013 at 06:57 PM
What doesn't each grown adult understand ?? We are taught as children from day one not to judge one another. Let the games go on !!!!!!!!!
Sly Lam January 10, 2013 at 10:37 AM
Please, I am gay and I played sports for many years and I did not give a rats ass if I see the other guys naked. Some heterosexuals have to get over themselves. What they should understand is that their more bisexuals than straight and gays put together. So how do you deal with them when you establish a standard of privacy? A locker for straight guys, a locker for straight girls, a locker for lesbians, a locker for gay men and a locker for bisexual men and women.... This is how ridiculous your point of view sounds like. *Rolling eyes*
SKK January 10, 2013 at 04:02 PM
What does sexuality have to do with playing a game? People are people. Game on! About the locker room thing, It doesn't matter if you are straight, gay, bi there is a way to act in a locker room and those rules go for everyone. Sexuality shouldn't be an issue.

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