Reaction to series, show

Outside the Lines

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World of the Gay Athlete: Gay hockey?

World of the Gay Athlete: NFL style

World of the Gay Athlete: The last closet

A gay comedian's take on sports

Speaking out on coming out

History of gay athletes

Chat wrap: Former NFL running back Dave Kopay

Chat wrap: Openly gay AD Mike Muska received hundreds of letters in response to the Dec. 16 Outside the Lines on gays and homophobia in sports. Below are selected letters:

Last time I checked, sex was not part of football. So the sexual preference of each player is a personal matter that has nothing to do with their profession. The issues (i.e. drug use, alcoholism, wife-beating, etc.) that currently plague the NFL are far more damaging to the continuity of a team than sexual preference.

If some of the players have a problem with a fellow teammate's lifestyle, then they better learn to live with it because homosexuality is a fact of life.

Michael Gormley

I played high school football. To be brutally honest, if I knew one of my teammates was gay and actively practicing homosexual behavior, I would have taken my shower at home or waited until the gay athlete had left for the day before doing such.

There is nothing wrong with choosing to be gay or being that way naturally. However, heterosexual thinking MAY lead one to perceive a teammate living this lifestyle to be weaker or untrustworthy.

Ask yourself, after practicing for two hours preparing for the next game or match, would you stand naked in a communal shower next to someone that admits they prefer sex with the same gender?

Randy Hopkins

Athletic teams and the armed forces are some of the only outlets where men are allowed to have close intimate relationships with other men and display strong emotions. War and sports events are some of the only outlets where it's completely acceptable for men to cry, embrace, jump for joy, touch each other, and show intense anger. It is no mystery to me why this privilege is shielded with intense homophobia.

If we dismantle homophobia (by changing the perceptions and assumptions of one person at a time), I can envision a society where all men can have close relationships with other men, without using the false shield of homophobia to protect themselves from attacks. In this society, athletes will be judged by their performance, and their character on and off the field, not by whom they love.

Clawson, Phillip B.

I am a lesbian and major football fan. I just want to say that one of the reasons that there are rumors about Steve Young and Troy Aikman is not that they are necessarily gay (they probably are not and if they are it is no one's business but theirs), but because gays/lesbians wish they were. We are tired of the constant pain and struggles and would be absolutely delighted if it was no big deal to anyone, ever. But that is not the case.

Liz Copp

It's definitely a sign that apocalypse is upon us. It's not right. It's never been right. This country is not ready for people to start flying out of the closet on NFL football teams. I mean, no matter what, you should always tell your mother how good dinner was. There are just certain things we should all keep to ourselves. Lock it in the vault, and never mention another word about it. What people don't know won't hurt them. That may be homophobic, but I'm an American.

Vince Pavic

It is amazing, the narrow perspective and the negative stereotypes of homosexuals from which many of the people speak. Take the case of Johnny Roland, the Arizona Cardinals' running backs coach, who said, "You try to sell your team on being a rough, tough, hard-nosed football team, and I would assume if that person was of that persuasion, I am not sure of the quality of his toughness.''

I watched him as he made the comments during your show, and I was pained that these narrow views were coming from, of all persons, a black male, who should be able to relate to the pain and anguish that members of marginalized groups feel at times. I am a black gay male, and I played soccer, and was on the track and tennis teams in high school. I doubt that there were many questions about the quality of my toughness.

Ainsworth Anthony

I think this series was a great idea. I am a former NCAA Division I All-American, and I was unable to personally deal with my own coming-out process until I graduated. The effects of being in the homophobic and abusive environment still affects me six years later. I am selectively out, although I now coach and teach young people which keeps me relatively discreet. While I gained so much from my athletic experience, I was hurt deeply by being gay and isolated at the same time. What should have been a highlight of my life has led to so many negatives that it almost cancels out all the benefits I received from being an elite athlete.

Minneapolis, Minn.

I have a black belt in Karate and Jiu jitsu. I came out to my two martial arts schools in Atlanta this year. Despite all of my nervousness at the possible homophobia that could manifest after I came out, particularly in the form of malicious sparring, I found that no one cared. In fact, many congratulated me on coming out and took me out to dinner. I thought to myself, "Gee, I need to come out more often."

At any rate, thank you discussing this issue. It's nice to know that there are others out there. Many gay people drop out of team sports because of the homophobia. Witness the athletes that have tried to commit suicide. That's why I dropped out of high school team sports, where I played hockey and lacrosse. I discovered martial arts later, and feel lucky to feel another athletic activity that I love. However, I still miss the camaraderie of team sports, and wish that American sports could value the gay athlete as much as any other.

Charles Chung

A hero is defined in Webster's as "any man admired for his qualities or achievements and regarded as an ideal or model." I hope you are referring to the gay community when you selected the title "Still Waiting for a Hero" and not the average football or sports fan. I'll take Darrell Green as a hero who lives an exemplary life off the football field and is willing to speak his mind about an aberrant lifestyle.

Perhaps the "belief" that 5-10 percent of the general population [is gay] is false. I doubt the attitudes and sexuality of the players in the NFL mirror society in any way, shape or form anyway. Politically incorrect as it may sound, football players thrive on an attitude that appears incompatible with the gay lifestyle. Of course, this attitude tends to drive some of them towards ruthless and uncivilized behavior on and off the field, to the detriment of their reputations.

Jim Rizzardi

I'm a 15-year-old male and I personally feel that if you're gay you shouldn't be allowed to partipate in sports. Number one, if you're gay and you are in a sport, you'll probably get your (butt) whooped. Nobody wants some fag staring at them when you're showering in the locker room. Gays in sports is just wrong! If gays want to play sports they can start their own league so nobody but fags will watch or play the sport.

Luke Rust

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