Blind hatred and ignorant prejudice are deadly in today’s sports world, despite the Bible-beaters who would scoff that the problem is being overblown and exaggerated in this day and age. Here are two prime and all too true examples taken from recent headlines of tough and popular current world famous sports heroes, told in their own words, who almost took their own lives more than once rather than crack open that closet door.
Gay sports hero Andrew Goldstein was at one time the only major team sports person to be out of the closet while still playing as an MVP/All-American goalie for Dartmouth. He tells in his video of times when suicide was preferable to being branded a faggot or worse by his teammates. Goldstein relates how he grew up in a time when athletes were taught that the word “gay” meant stupid or weak. Fags existed to be depantsed in high school hallways or to have their heads forcibly shaven. If you listened to the venom in your friends’ voices, to be queer was to be spat on, beaten up and verbally pummeled every day of your life.
Following in the ultra-masculine footsteps of Australia’s openly gay hero Ian Roberts, comes 36-year-old Welsh hero Gareth Thomas, proudly flashing a smile featuring his famous trademark – two missing front teeth to a stadium packed with thousands of his fans roaring, “ALFIE! ALFIE! ALFIE! ALFIE!!!” As a player he is the personification of the word “fierce.” He is a versatile rugby footballer at fullback, center or wing and is also one of only a handful of openly gay professional athletes to come out of the closet while still playing. In 2007, Thomas scored a legendary try during the Rugby World Cup that earned him his 100th rugby union international cap. Currently he is a star for the Crusaders in Europe’s Super League after playing for Wales and the Cardiff Blues.
He lived and breathed rugby from his youngest boyhood fantasies. Family genetics, a talent for tactics, and hard work gave him the magnificent body required to conquer a brutal game so tough that it made the American version of it with its pads and helmets look like a school kid’s match of flag football at a junior high school gym class. Within his mind, alternately real and imagined self-righteous, pious and judgmental monsters in the dark constantly threatened to sweep all of his rabid fans and athletic accomplishments away.