Homosexuality has become more accepted and mainstream in today’s world, but what about in the sports world?
Recently, nationally known athletes like Brooklyn Nets Center Jason Collins and NFL draft prospect Michael Sam have opened up about their sexuality to their fans, teammates and families.
Collins’ jersey has been flying off the shelves and what impact Sam’s coming out announcement will have on his draft stock remains to be seen.
A recent attempt to contact Sam got this reporter a first-class ticket to his agent.
“Thanks for your interest. At this time Michael is not doing any interviews as he is focusing on football and Pro Day,” agent Cameron Weiss wrote in an emailed response.
With their announcements, though, Collins and Sam opened up the question of how teammates will react.
But how do Castleton students and coaches feel about openly gay players and teammates?
Interviews with several students, players and coaches revealed the same response: they didn’t mind at all.
Ten of the 17 were males and all said that they were fine with having an openly gay player on their sports team as long as that player didn’t make any advancements toward them.
“Doesn’t bother me. It’s none of my business. Just because they’re gay, it doesn’t change if they’re a good athlete,” said Christian Procida, a cornerback on the football team.
The other seven to be polled were females, and they said they same thing.
“It personally doesn’t matter. I’ve been in the locker room with gay athletes. I think it should be about athletic ability, not going on a date,” said former basketball player Molly DeMellier
And the Spartan coaches felt the same way.
“They are no different than anyone else in our locker room … If they can play, I want them on my team,” said former assistant football coach Jason Challeen.
Students and coaches acknowledged that these answers might be different if this question was asked 20 or 30 years ago.
Students say that society in general is far more accepting these days of the gay lifestyle. It no longer is the taboo subject it once was, they say.
“I’m not going to base my opinion about someone based on their religion, race, gender, or sexuality” said Castleton freshman Cullen Eaton.