Wyatt Pertuset has quite a season, the wide receiver and punter for Capital University in Ohio is one of seven openly gay college football players this season.
Pertuset made headlines when he became perhaps the first openly gay player to score a touchdown and was featured on ESPN. But perhaps the biggest honor was being named Special Teams Player of the Week by the Ohio Athletic Conference, which plays in Divison III.
“Pertuset was called upon to punt four times in last week’s matchup against Baldwin Wallace over Homecoming Weekend. He totaled 182 yards in his four punts and averaged 45.5 yards per boot, a new single-game high for the junior. He also set the mark for a new personal long when he cranked one punt 55 yards downfield. Three of his four punts also pinned the Yellow Jackets inside their own 20-yard line.”
Pertuset admits he is proud to be gay and has no problems with people knowing it.
“I want it to be one of those images in young minds, especially for the same age as me, who might be in the closet, to work hard and just play your heart out, not only for your team but for what you stand for,” Pertuset said after scoring his touchdown a month ago. “I want this to be a turning point that proves to people that we are great athletes as well.”
Tadd Fujikawa became the first professional golfer to come out. On Monday Fujikawa opened up in an Instagram post that detailed his coming-out journey.
"So ... I'm gay,â Fujikawa declared. "Many of you may have already known that. I don't expect everyone to understand or accept me. But please be gracious enough to not push your beliefs on me or anyone in the LGBTQ community. My hope is this post will inspire each and every one of you to be more empathetic and loving towards one another.â
âI've been back and forth for a while about opening up about my sexuality,â he continued. âI thought that I didn't need to come out because it doesn't matter if anyone knows. But I remember how much other's stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope.â
Fuijkawa made history at 15 when he became the youngest golfer in history to qualify for the U.S. Open. In 2007 at the age of 16, he became one of the youngest players to qualify for the PGA Tour event.
He revealed in his post how being in the closet weighed his spirit and was detrimental to his mental health.
âI spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/say,â he wrote. âI've struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place. Now I'm standing up for myself and the rest of the LGBTQ community in hopes of being an inspiration and making a difference in someone's life.â
It was important to Fujikawa to encourage others to reach out to him for support. He also gave a personal message to everyone: âYou are loved and you are enough â¦ as is, exactly as you are.â
âWe are all human and equal after all,â he concluded. âSo I dare you ... spread love. Let's do our part to make this world a better place.â
Read his full message below.
MLB player Daniel Murphy 100% disagrees with the gay lifestyle, debuted for the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night, just five days before the Cub’s LGBTQ Pride night this Sunday.
On Thursday Murphy was asked to clarify his remarks he made in 2015, regarding former MBL player Billy Bean. It would appear little has changed.
Said Murphy: “What I would say to that is that I’ve been able to foster a really positive relationship with Billy Bean since that time. I’m really excited to continue to cultivate that relationship that we’ve built. Billy, his job I think is Ambassador for Inclusion with Major League Baseball is a vital role so that everyone feels included, not only in our industry in baseball but in all aspects of life. Again, I hope that anyone that comes to Wrigley Field feels welcome. That’s my hope. That’s the hope of Major League Baseball. And speaking with Billy Bean — again, like I said, the relationship that we’ve been able to forge — that’s what he’s trying to do. I think that’s what we’re trying to do as an industry. We want people to feel welcome, whatever walk of life that might be.”
When asked if he had a message to any fans conflicted with his presence on the team, Murphy responded: “Oh dear. I would hope that you would root for the Cubs.”
This is what Murphy said to the NJ Advance Media in 2015:
“I disagree with his lifestyle. I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him. I don’t think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect. Getting to know him. That, I would say, you can still accept them but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent…
“Maybe, as a Christian, that we haven’t been as articulate enough in describing what our actual stance is on homosexuality. We love the people. We disagree with the lifestyle. That’s the way I would describe it for me. It’s the same way that there are aspects of my life that I’m trying to surrender to Christ in my own life. There’s a great deal of many things, like my pride. I just think that as a believer trying to articulate it in a way that says just because I disagree with the lifestyle doesn’t mean I’m just never going to speak to Billy Bean every time he walks through the door. That’s not love. That’s not love at all.”
Bean was asked about Murphy’s comments after receiving emails asking how he felt about the “gay lifestyle” comments. This is how he responded:
“After reading his comments, I appreciate that Daniel spoke his truth. I really do. I was visiting his team, and a reporter asked his opinion about me. He was brave to share his feelings, and it made me want to work harder and be a better example that someday might allow him to view things from my perspective, if only for just a moment.
“I respect him, and I want everyone to know that he was respectful of me. We have baseball in common, and for now, that might be the only thing. But it’s a start.
“The silver lining in his comments is that he would be open to investing in a relationship with a teammate, even if he “disagrees” with the lifestyle. It may not be perfect, but I do see him making an effort to reconcile his religious beliefs with his interpretation of the word lifestyle. It took me 32 years to fully accept my sexual orientation, so it would be hypocritical of me to not be patient with others.”
Bill Gubrud creator of Out at Wrigley told Block Chub Chicago: I just don’t like the man at all. Honestly, when someone says they don’t like the gay lifestyle, what they’re saying is, ‘I think it’s gross when two guys are having sex together.’ And that’s exactly what Daniel Murphy meant. There weren’t many openly gay sports fans [during the first Gay Day in 2001] because of the fear of retribution, of going to a ballpark and all that …. Stupid comments like that from Daniel Murphy, there’s no place in society for anything like that.”
Outsports writer Cyd Zeigler wrote: ‘I have never advocated for chasing every single Christian person out of sports who “disagrees” with the fact that I’m married to my husband. But when someone decides to publicly elevate the anti-gay environment of the sports world, it’s up to him to fix that. That Murphy hasn’t done that, and that the Cubs would sign him days before Out At Wrigley, is disappointing.’
Professional surfer Keala Kennelly came out years ago and gave an amazing interview with fellow surfer Graig Butler. The interview can be found on the Facebook page Humans of Surfing. The two really discuss a wide range of topics and what it’s like being gay on the pro-surfing circuit.
One portion of the interview is where they talk about the people around her a decade ago trying to convince her to stay in the closet, this also included sponsors.
I was a closeted homo and I felt an enormous amount of pressure from the ASP (now WSL) and my sponsors to keep that a secret. So I was living a double life and dying inside every day that I wasn’t living authentically. I struggled with extreme depression. The only thing that made me feel good was winning but if I was losing that compounded my depression to the point where I would be having constant thoughts of suicide.
Wondering what companies she’s referring to? She does talk about the repercussions of coming about and the effects it had on sponsorship's.
I didn’t make some big announcement or anything I just started bringing my girlfriend to events and introducing her as my girlfriend instead of my “friend.” The reaction was very high school. Lots of people talking. It was stressful. ... In 2008 I lost 3 out of my 4 major sponsors Red Bull, Spy, Vestal. Billabong didn’t drop me but systematically started cutting my salary down to almost nothing (I went from making 6 figures in 2007 to the last year I rode for them 2015 I got no $ just a small travel budget of $3k). I never understood if that was because I was gay and out of the closet or because of the economic meltdown or probably a combination of both. The year Billabong dropped me was the same year I made history by winning the Barrel of the Year award at the WSL XXL Awards, was nominated for an ESPY and became the first woman to be invited to the Eddie.
This was long before marriage equality so we do hope the companies have since embraced the LGBT community. It’s really no secret that surfing has been particularly homophobic, so if you’ve followed the sports this really isn’t so shocking.
We have only highlighted a very small portion of the interview this Kennelly if you’re interested in the full interview here.
Democrats Tuesday made history by nominating Christine Hallquist as their candidate for governor, which makes her the first ever transgender candidate to win the party’s nomination for the state’s highest post.
Hallquist managed to defeat three other Democrats. Getting Vermont residents higher-paying jobs, health care for families and better education was her platform.
She wrote on Twitter late Tuesday night thanking them for their support, writing
Tuesday morning she did an interview on CBSN’s “Red & Blue” with Elaine Quijano. "It will be historic for the nation," she told Quijano if she were to be nominated. "I'm proud to be the person to help the nation widen its moral compass." Furthermore, "Vermonters are going to elect me for what I'm going to do for Vermont," Hallquist said. "Vermont has always been a leader in civil rights. We have some of the best transgender protection laws in the country. It's a state that's really welcomed me with open arms."
Hallquist who worked as an electric company executive stated that she is running for governor based on her managerial ability and having a campaign with a focuses on economic development for rural Vermont.
In her interview, Hallquist says she "has a long vision for Vermont" and wants to make internet access available to everyone.
"I will connect everyone and every business with fiber optic cables so every Vermonter can be connected to the internet," Hallquist said. "What we're seeing in rural Vermont and rural America is the same thing that happened in the 1930s ... when the cities had electricity, rural America did not. Sixty percent of the land mass in Vermont can't connect to the Internet -- and it's so critical for business."
Hallquist also spoke about health care and her economic agenda.
"Let's stop making profits on people sick and dying. Let's approve Medicare for All. Let's get people to a living wage. There's been a systematic attack on the working class for over 30 years now. And so we've got to change this."
The Associated Press says she has also won support from The Victory Fund, a political action committee that backs LGBTQ candidates. They have called her a "game changer."
The New York Yankees are planning events to remember and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The team came under fire for being one of two clubs in the Major Leagues to not hold any LGBT Pride events.
But the team has announced that it is planning several major events to honor the Stonewall riots that occurred in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, in which many regard as the foundations of the modern LGBT rights movement.
SportsNews New York writer Andy Martino said: “According to major league sources, the Yankees have been quietly planning significant events for next season to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a seminal event in both the history of LGBTQ rights and New York City.”
“While a Yankees spokesman said it was too early to confirm any specifics of the 2019 promotional calendar, other sources said that the team continues to work out details of Stonewall-centered events. ‘Specifics have not been finalized, but I hear that the final plan is likely to include activities both inside and outside the ballpark.”
The team acknowledged that they have been working on LGBT events long before it was criticized for not hosting a Pride night. Martino added the club is “focused on the Stonewall anniversary as a way to push the standard Pride Nights to a deeper level.”
The Stonewall Inn, in New York City’s Greenwich Village for many played a major role in LGBT history. It was the location for a series of riots in June 1969, by members of the community all in response to a police raid.
Two activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera who were gender non-conforming, thus sparking the entire civil rights movement and the very reason we celebrate Pride Month and celebrated in June.
Some of the earliest Pride marched started in 1970, and in some countries Pride is still referred to as Christopher Street Day Parades the location of the pub.
It’s a known fact that American pro-sports are not known for welcoming LGBT athletes. If you require additional proof just look at Minnesota United midfielder Collin Martin the only openly gay male athlete. However, he has now teamed up with Athlete Ally and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality to help create a sort of #MeToo movement in the hopes of addressing homophobia in sports.
In an effort to ending homophobia and transphobia in sports Collin is working with RISE – an “alliance of professional sports leagues, organizations, athletes, educators, media networks and sports professionals using sports to bring people together to promote understanding, respect and, equality.” Speaking with California university student-athletes to address anti-LGBT participation in sports and put forward initiatives that stop discrimination before it appears on-field, during practices or within the locker room.
Martin is also spearheading training that educates college and university coaches about sexual misconduct and what behaviors are appropriate for students and players alike. Providing tools that assist them in developing strategies for putting a stop to any anti-LGBT language, for example when team members or opponents call weak or ineffective things “gay” or use the word “faggot” to intimidate opponents.
Martin stated in a recent interview, “There are kids out there that still are questioning themselves and questioning their spot in sports just based on their sexuality.” Furthermore, he stated: “We need to have a better culture in place for our young kids, and if that can come from coaches and better education in terms of how they’re creating a healthy environment for their teams at a young age.”
Efforts to combat homophobia in sports isn’t an easy task and Martin appears to understand this. A survey completed in 2015 found that of 9,500 athletes from six English-speaking countries found 83% of male athletes remain closeted to their teammates, 84% had witnessed homophobia at a sporting match and 80% didn’t feel safe to be openly gay as either a competitor or a spectator.
Well, it appears that two more major league baseball players had to apologize Sunday after tweets that used anti-gay and racial slurs surfaced, sent while they were teenagers (18).
Sean Newcomb pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and Trea Turner a shortstop for the Washington Nationals both apologized in various degrees, and well as their respective teams. The two become join Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers who have had to publicly apologize for their offensive tweets. Major League Baseball said that Newcomb would meet with league executive and former player Billy Bean, who is openly gay as part as of diversity training. Turner might have to I certain at some point do the same, his tweets were found late Sunday night.
Newcomb’s tweets were sent when he was 18 and a freshman in college. He used the word “fag” in six tweets and made racist comments including using the word “nigga.”
Turner as well made his when he was 18 and playing college baseball. They were summarized by the Washington Post:
Two of Turner’s resurfaced tweets were replies in which acquaintances were called homophobic slurs. In another, the tweet reads “unless ur gay” in a reply to a former North Carolina State teammate. A fourth tweet suggests that if a woman working at a drive-through were to ask who the [faggot] in the back of a car was, it would be Turner. A fifth tweet reads, “Once u go black, u gonna need a wheelchair,” a line from the movie “White Chicks.”
Both players did manage to apologize, Newcomb’s, to be honest, was less than convincing.
“I felt that it would be good to address it right away and just let people know that I meant nothing by it,” Newcomb said. “I didn’t mean to offend anybody and I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again. I’ll be smarter. I think that people who know me know that’s now the kind of person I am.”
Lame, that’s all I can say of that apology, there is nothing sincere or contrite about it and it’s a stark contrast to Hader’s reaction when his tweets surfaced.
Turner’s mea cupla was better:
“There are no excuses for my insensitive and offensive language on Twitter,” Turner said in a statement released by the Nationals. “I am sincerely sorry for those tweets and apologize wholeheartedly. I believe people who know me understand those regrettable actions do not reflect my values or who I am. But I understand the hurtful nature of such language and am sorry to have brought any negative light to the Nationals organization, myself or the game I love.”
Both teams also issued statements:
“I have spoken with Trea regarding the tweets that surfaced earlier tonight,” Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said. “He understands that his comments — regardless of when they were posted — are inexcusable and is taking full responsibility for his actions. The Nationals organization does not condone discrimination in any form, and his comments do not in any way reflect the values of our club. Trea has been a good teammate and model citizen in our clubhouse, and these comments are not indicative of how he has conducted himself while part of our team. He has apologized to me and to the organization for his comments.”
From the Atlanta Braves:
“We are aware of the tweets that surfaced after today’s game and have spoken to Sean who is incredibly remorseful. Regardless of how long ago he posted them, he is aware of the insensitivity and is taking full responsibility.
“We find the tweets hurtful and incredibly disappointing and even though he was 18 or 19 years old when posted, it doesn’t make them any less tolerable. We will work together with Sean towards mending the wounds created in our community.”
In a weird side issue, it appears it wasn’t a coincidence that Turner’s tweets surfaced hours after Newcomb’s, according to the Post. “The offensive messages surfaced after a Nationals-centric Twitter account earlier Sunday dug up racist and homophobic tweets sent by ... Newcomb.”
In another weird side issue, Turner “lends his time to MLB’s ‘Shred Hate’ program, an anti-bullying initiative.” I guess he can use himself as an exhibit from now on.
The MLB has ordered that Hader take sensitivity training and choosing not to impose a fine or suspension since the tweets were before his time with the MLB. Newcomb and Turner will most likely get the same.
You can forgive both Newcomb and Turner for their homophobia and racist comment as teenagers if they’ve both changed. Turner, I am more convinced, but to be honest Newcomb’s response was lame. But you have to give credit to the MLB, they have directly addressed the issues, but I would suggest that these players spend some time going over their Twitter (social media) accounts and take care of business.
Bradley Kim who is a defensive back for the Air Force Academy made history this past Friday when he came out as gay. He becomes the first football player in the Air Force, Marines or Army to come out and publicly say he is gay.
Kim wrote on his Instagram: “Jeremiah 29:11 God made me this way for a reason. I did not think this day would ever come, but I’ve finally reached the point where I am comfortable and confident enough with myself to say that I am gay. It’s been a long road to get to this point and I definitely would not be here without the love and support of my amazing family, teammates and coaches here at the academy, and my equally amazing friends. I feel blessed to have such receptive and understanding people in my life. ”
He further added: “I hope that I can serve as an example to those who are allowing their fear of acceptance to change who they are. I almost gave up my dream of playing division 1 football for fear of not being accepted by everyone, but today I am happy to say that I am a cadet at the Air Force Academy playing the sport I love with amazing people standing behind me and supporting me. If anyone feels like they don’t have a voice or feel like they are alone, just know there are plenty of people out there like you and me, and more that are willing to talk to you about it. God bless all and thank you to everyone who has made me feel comfortable to live my most genuine life.”
OutSports profiled his story with the following: Earlier in the day, Kim, a safety with the Air Force Falcons, came out to the other defensive backs on the team. He said they gave him a standing ovation. Going into that conversation, he had already told his parents, various former teammates from high school, several teammates at Air Force, various people at the Air Force Academy not affiliated with the football program, and various coaches with the team. Every one of them, including head coach Troy Calhoun, had a reaction of full-fledged support.
“They tell me they appreciate the fact that I felt confident enough, and they meant enough, for me to tell them,” he said.
Kim said their reactions, along with the supportive environment of Air Force, left him with no fear or anxiety going into his conversations with his teammates, or posting his message on Instagram.
’I’ve spent too many years worrying what other people will think and letting it affect what I do in my daily life. And I’m kind of done with that. It doesn’t affect my ability to play football. It doesn’t affect my ability to serve my country. No one cares here. We all go through the same thing, we all go through basic training. What we go through going through the Academy goes way deeper than worrying about what someone will think.”
How could someone who has been so outspoken against the rights of the LGBTQ community be in charge of player development?
This question has puzzled me since I first heard the announcement yesterday from my alma mater that Ron Brown was returning to the Nebraska football staff as Director of Player Development.
Why is there a lack of sensitivity around the implications and optics of this hire? Did Nebraska football consider how this would affect a large portion of their fan base who value inclusion? These were just a fraction of the questions swirling around in my head when I heard the news.
I’m not here to reiterate the words Ron Brown has said to undermine a community I hold near and dear to my heart. A quick internet search will do that for you.
I’m here now to shed light on this situation, share some facts, and help expand the consciousness of those who may not understand the ramifications of such a hire.
For those who may not know, Coach Brown was the wide receivers coach my freshman year at Nebraska. This was the season in which I faced some of my most extreme challenges while trying to be accepted and included as an openly gay Huskers football player.
Did Coach Brown ever treat me with disrespect or animosity during his time as a coach while I played? No.
Do I know the conversations he or others may have had about me behind closed doors? I do not.
What I do know is that Coach Brown is a man of extreme religious convictions. While I was playing he led Nebraska’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes program, and after games Coach Brown and I would join others at center field for a prayer. I remember Coach Brown with a smile and kind demeanor. As a coach, he was confident, poised, and smart. This is what I know of Ron Brown.
I’m sure for those reasons and others, Coach Brown was brought back to Nebraska to mentor Husker football student-athletes in numerous off-field development areas. However, what about his sordid past including his advocacy against LGBTQ anti-discrimination in the workplace in Omaha? Was this ever considered during the hiring process? Having diversity of thought in the position of director of player development is important. Did Husker Athletics ask Brown what inclusion means to him?
The hiring of one person should not negate the incredible past and current diversity and inclusion efforts of many passionate individuals working tirelessly within Husker Athletics and throughout the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL).
Fellow LGBT SportSafe co-founder Nevin Caple and myself have both spoken at their annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit. I am 100% confident that the Husker Life Skills program will continue to work towards creating a more inclusive athletics department for everyone in all their differences including LGBTQ student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and fans.
I have spent the better part of a decade reconciling some of the dark experiences of my Husker football career. It took me years to get to a place where I could use those experiences to help inspire others to live authentically and to help create a more inclusive athletics community.
Inclusion doesn’t happen overnight. Like honing one’s athletic skills, it takes practice. Brown is entitled to his personal values and beliefs, just as we all are. One does not need to compromise their values or beliefs in order to be respectful of others and to implement inclusive behaviors.
Brown may very well have expanded his views on LGBTQ inclusion over the past several years. At least that is a hope of mine because he now has responsibilities to more than just himself. As a member of Husker Athletics, Brown must know that his actions will reflect on coach Scott Frost, athletic director Bill Moos, and the Nebraska football program as a whole.
UNL and Husker Athletics share common values around diversity and inclusion with respect, acceptance, and unity being three key elements of those values. It is my hope that Ron Brown can uphold these institutional values which continue to define the Husker way.
Macroaggressions such as the hiring of someone with a sordid past without an explanation as to why can often continue to hinder progress. However, I pray this time we can see the incredible opportunities this has presented; opportunities for growth and education.
The new Husker football staff has landed in an inclusive athletics department, so continued education on diversity and inclusion may be warranted. Everybody starts from somewhere, and we must be respectful their journey. Meeting in the messy middle and having difficult conversations is not easy, but it’s the surest way to instill growth and to find common ground.
I know there are a lot of Husker fans, especially those who identify as LGBTQ, who are feeling shocked and even hurt by this new hire. I understand, and your feelings are valid. I urge Nebraska Football, Husker Athletics, and Ron Brown to stand up and address this in whatever manner they feel necessary. If you stay silent on this topic, however, your silence will be experienced as rejection, and you will continue to lose more of your fan base.
Ron Brown, my door is always open, my phone is always on, and my email box is always ready. I know Husker Athletics has my contact information. I would be more than happy to have some deep conversations with you in order for us to both grow and learn from one another.
Go Big Red!
Eric Lueshen was with the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team from 2003 to 2005. He is now co-founder of the LGBT SportSafe Inclusion Program. You can find him on Twitter @EricLueshen, and on Instagram @EricLueshen.
r/h Out Sports