Rick Welts, CEO of the Phoenix Suns, came out publicly last week after spending decades concealing his sexuality for fear of the ostracization and damage to his career that may result from being openly gay in a professional sports organization. The wide world of sports is sort of funny (hypocritical?) that way; millions of dudes across the land can spend hundreds of hours each year watching sweaty men in ass-tight pants run around while still clutching to some ridiculously antiquated notions about gender and sexual orientation. There's a lot of macho bullshit and a lot of pretty conservative people, so it is extra refreshing to see someone of Charles Barkley's stature lay down the truth.
This, coupled with the reigning champion San Francisco Giants announcing their participation in the “It Gets Better” campaign, makes for a pretty positive week in pro sports' ongoing battle against the old guard of jowly, homophobic pitching coaches and their ilk. And this all follows Steve Buckley's recent, and very public, coming out party. It might seem like some fairly minor stuff, but sports has long wielded a very real power to advance social change and effect public attitudes, so things like this could really help speed homophobia's continued marginalization both in sports and society.