In one week, four men lined up to announce they are gay, three from the insular world of professional sports.

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 on 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.”

In an interview with gay sports website, 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.

Max 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 colleagues.

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 some.

“Uhhhhhhhh, ENOUGH!” wrote Raynard Jackson in an op-ed published at

“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 professional.”

“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.