In one week, four men lined up to
announce they are gay, three from the insular world of professional
The coming outs of Phoenix Suns CEO and
President Rick Welts, former Villanova basketball player Will
Sheridan and ESPN Radio's Jared Max shattered what Welts called “a
conspiracy of silence.”
“I wouldn't characterize [the NBA] as
a hostile environment of any kind,” Welts said during an appearance
CNN's In The Arena three days after he
told The New York Times that he's gay. “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.”
Sheridan offered a different view,
saying he was open with teammates and coaches about his sexuality,
and they accepted him.
When asked why he decided to come out,
Sheridan, 26, told ESPN: “I'm kind of over it. Everyone close to
me knows. Everyone who matters to me knows. I'm at a point where
someone else can learn from my experience.”
an interview with gay sports website Outsports.com, Sheridan, who
has since moved on to record Ngoma, a 4-track studio album,
added that he wanted to control the discussion, instead of being
outed by his lyrics.
came out to his audience on Thursday morning. The 37-year-old
sports broadcaster asked, “Are we ready to have our sports
information delivered by someone who is gay?”
Welts, who came out first, said he had
been contemplating the move for months, consulting friends and
The following day, Monday, The New
York Times ran a second coming out story. This time it was CNN
anchor Don Lemon, who said he would talk about his sexuality in his
upcoming memoir Transparent.
The back-to-back self outings rankled
“Uhhhhhhhh, ENOUGH!” wrote
Raynard Jackson in an op-ed published at thyblackman.com.
“This public confessional will not
make them a better executive, a better anchor, or a better singer,”
he wrote. “As a matter of fact, if I admitted to a co-worker that
I was a Christian (and they did not share my belief), it could be
constructed as workplace harassment. Just ask any human resources
“But, from all the media of these
confessionals, you would have thought they just survived the
Holocaust,” Jackson added.
Most commenters, however, called the
men courageous. Country music star Chely Wright, who came out gay
last year, told
Lemon that he had saved lives.