Earlier this year we had quite a few news stories about potential sports stars coming out as gay, from the NFL, to the NBA, even Professional Soccer, but for the most part it was much ado about nothing. The NBA had a player come out, Jason Collins, the only issue is that he’s nothing more than a role player in the twilight of his career, so the impact was very minimal. (sportsillustrated.cnn.com) In the MLS a player, Robbie Rogers, became the first pro sports player to actually play a game in a major sport after coming out. At the same time, he’s not someone with a huge profile and the impact was once again minimal. (huffingtonpost.com) In what people expected to be a HUGE moment, Brendon Ayanbadejo said as many as four current NFL players were considering coming out by the end of the summer. As time went on that statement changed and nobody stepped forward, creating all of zero impact. (espn.go.com) What could have been the biggest summer in sports history when it comes to equality and acceptance would up being pretty flat, all that changed on August 15th when a star came out, someone who’s on a large stage and in the world of sports and entertainment.
In a move that very few people would have expected, an athelete has admitted their homosexuality while still active in their profession and planning to continue their career. Interestingly enough it’s a pro wrestler, meaning that the WWE has jumped ahead of the MLB, NHL, and NFL in terms of having an openly gay worker in their fold. Darren Young may not be a main eventer in WWE but he is part of a somewhat prominent tag team, Prime Time Players, with a man who is already being pegged as a main eventer himself, which can do nothing but help the star currently surrounding Young. (tmz.com) While performers of the past have admitted their sexual preference AFTER leaving the limelight of the main roster of the top company, this is the first time that someone has been willing to admit to being gay while continuing on in the company. (wikipedia.org) After Young made his admission he’s seen acceptance by his coworkers, with everyone from Jim Ross, Bret Hart, and John Cena to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon taking to twitter to show support. (wrestlingnewsworld.com) While the simple admission that he’s a gay man is great, his entire speech about his decision was amazing to hear. Not only do his peers not see it as an issue, Young himself tossed out the question of “does it matter, does it change what you think about me?” With this quote alone Darren Young has become one of the most important names in sports. The new question, to quote Bill Goldberg, is now “Who’s Next?”