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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Discussion on openly gay athletes with the Queer Student Center

Michael+Sam+made+waves+when+he+came+out+last+month%2C+but+look+for+that+to+be+a+thing+of+the+past
Michael Sam made waves when he came out last month, but look for that to be a thing of the past

Homosexuality is not a taboo in the 21st century. Though there are people who are still uncomfortable with publicizing their sexual orientation, the idea that someone prefers being with a same sex partner is not uncommon; at least, not in today’s society.
So when Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins announced that he was gay, why was this a big deal?
Why did NFL draft prospect Michael Sam’s announcement control the headlines for days?
University of Massachusetts Boston’s head of the Queer Student Center, Cheyenne Fox-Tree McGrath, believes it’s because “being gay has been stigmatized and discriminated against. I mean ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ just got repealed within the past few years. So how can you be outwardly gay in the public media?”
Homosexuality in professional sports  isn’t common; in fact, it’s unheard of.
While many people on social media and in public are outraged about the overblown publicity of Collins and Sam’s announcements, Fox-Tree McGrath believes that the coverage was deserved.
“I don’t think it’s overblown at all. I think people are like, ‘oh, we’re so sick of hearing it,’” Fox-Tree McGrath said. “But at the same time it’s like well, we need to hear it because we don’t talk about it and it’s just going to disappear. It is important because there weren’t gay athletes 10 years ago, there weren’t outwardly-gay athletes five years ago.”
Well, there weren’t outwardly gay athletes until 13-year NBA veteran Jason Collins publicized that he was gay in an interview with Sports Illustrated on Apr. 29, 2013. After signing a 10-day contract on Feb. 23 with the Brooklyn Nets, Collins is the first openly gay player to ever compete in one of the four major sports.
Michael Sam, who could be drafted to the NFL in May, will be the first openly-gay football player in the league — which is considered the most masculine sport — and the second active openly gay player in the major American sports leagues.
“I think it’s important for people to have someone they can relate to and is going through some sort of struggle and actually made it,” Fox-Tree McGrath said.
Collins and Sam’s announcements could possibly start a trend of not only professional athletes feeling free to express their homosexuality, but their announcements may give other people who are living in the dark about their homosexuality to bring it to light because they have someone to relate to.