Originally Posted by CalNaughtonRipken
Two time NFL Pro Bowl Tight End, 13 year member of the Washington Redskins and honoree of their Ring Of Fame, Jerry Smith took no action to hide his homosexuality during his career. He played from 1965-1977. Other gay NFL players of that era speak admiringly of the courageous way that Jerry Smith chose to live his life during an era where public hostility was likely far greater than today.
I was unaware of this. Was this ever covered at all? I mean, was it widely known to the public at the time (I was born in '76, so of course I have no memory of that time period)?
Interesting, though. I think given the current media and social attention on the LGBT community we are going to see an openly gay major sports athlete sometime relatively soon, and it's going to be all over the news. ESPN will have a seizure just covering this one thing.
And there have been gay athletes we knew about before, but there has yet to be an openly out gay male athlete in one of the "big three" American sports (baseball, basketball, and handegg). You can probably throw hockey in there as well.
There are openly lesbian WNBA players, but that doesn't tweak people as much, because those are women doing something "manly" anyway (playing a sport for a living!), so them being gay seems more normal somehow. This isn't my thought process, BTW, I'm just explaining the general public take on gay female athletes.