COLUMN: Why is sexuality a major topic in sports?

By CHRIS ZADOROZNY, SportsEditor

In one way or another, sports impacts the communities we live in. It provides an outlet for children, as it teaches them the skills that they can use not only in the games they play, but in real life too. Sports provides a fun time, whether it’s going to the game, hanging out and watching it on television and debating, or competing in them professionally or just for fun; sports are a vital part of our life.

So why then, why do we address the issue of sexuality in sports? I for one am puzzled by this. When the Manti Te’o story came out about his fake girlfriend and how he was duped, many jumped to the conclusion he was hiding that he was gay.

Chris Zadorozny

Chris Zadorozny

Te’o has denied that and honestly, who really cares if he likes guys or girls. That was a constant question asked to him and became a constant question from the media during the NFL combine. In fact, the NFL is in fact, investigating whether or not teams asked this question to prospects they met with during this period, which is illegal.

Why are teams and the media so concerned if someone is straight or gay? I’m quite concerned with the fact this is a topic that people need to know about it. I just can’t fathom why this is an issue.

When new Tigers’ outfielder, Torii Hunter was asked if he would be ok with having a gay teammate on his team, he responded, “it will be difficult and uncomfortable.” He later tweeted out (@toriihunter48) that his views were misrepresented and that the quotes were combined by the writer that did not express his true feelings. “I have love and respect for all human beings regardless of race, color, or sexual orientation,” tweeted Hunter.

It seems that reporting has come down to asking questions on whether or not if you feel comfortable having a gay teammate or not. Again, this should not be an issue. I may be contributing to the media reports on gay teammates with this column, although I’d like to think I’m addressing the problem, but there shouldn’t be a need to write this at all.

Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander was asked the same question as Hunter. I commend him for his answer. “I don’t think one of our players would be scared to come out. We got 25 guys, it’s a family, and our goal is to win a World Series. What your sexual orientation is, I don’t see how that affects the ultimate goal of our family.”

Now that’s the answer of a real leader and what should be the answer for a normal human being. If it goes against your religion or views, I can somewhat see that viewpoint, but I’ll never understand it.

I urge the media to stop with this nonsense. The issue of whether or not someone is gay, or would accept a gay teammate has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with how you perform or play your sport. If we want to be taken seriously as sports reporters, as journalists, and as a human beings, this has to stop.

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