Rick Welts, the president and CEO of
the Phoenix Suns, has come out in favor of gay marriage.
In announcing in an
interview on Sunday with the New York Times that he's gay,
Welts became the first man in the world of professional sports to
come out during his career. Other gay men – including the NFL's
Esera Tuaolo, the NBA's John Amaechi and the MLB's Billy Bean –
opened up about their sexuality after retiring from sports.
On Monday, former
Villanova basketball player Will Sheridan told ESPN that he's gay and
that his former teammates supported him.
During an interview on CNN's In The
Arena, Welts denied that the NBA is hostile toward gay men, but
added that the topic is simply not discussed.
“I wouldn't characterize [the NBA] as
a hostile environment of any kind. There's just what I've kind of
termed a conspiracy of silence, where just the topic – it's not
discussed. It's just nothing that is comfortable to be a part of our
work environment. Totally out of step, probably, with where our
society is today, but it still exists.”
Welts added that he's received nothing
but cheers for coming forward.
When asked if he supports gay marriage,
Welts, a supporter of Republican Senator John McCain, answered: “I
look at the word 'equal' and I'm still looking for the asterisk. I
can't really see where that is.” (The video is embedded in the
right panel of this page.)