NBA: No More Gay Discrimination

The basketball league adopts a new non-discrimination policy covering sexual orientation

Lately, it seems that whenever the NBA is associated with anything related to LGBT news, it has to do with an unfortunate anti-gay slur (hello, Kobe Bryant), but just last week the league announced it would be adopting a new non-discrimination policy that covers sexual orientation. This means that even though gay folks aren’t protected federally (not to mention in many states) openly gay players can’t be cut just because of their sexual orientation.

No word if there’s a Kardashian clause (we kid).

In reality, the move is significant for the league as a way to protect gay players who may be considering coming out.

“Non-discrimination language was added into the agreement that protects players from discrimination, including based on sexual orientation,” says NBA Senior Vice President of Marketing Michael Bass.

The NFL, NHL, MLB and MLS have already added such protections with little or no fanfare. The HRC is also pushing for transgender guidelines, but so far no comment has been made about whether gender identity will eventually be covered by the policy.

The question of whether closeted gay players (we know they’re out there) will actually come out is also uncertain. But as more policies like these are adopted within the professional sports world, it certainly makes it easier to be more open and honest without fear of losing one’s job. Of course, this doesn’t mean stereotypes and backlash among fellow players won’t persist, as was the case with John Amaechi, a former Penn State player who only came out publicly after retiring from the NBA.

“If you look at our league,” said Amaechi after coming out years ago, “minorities aren’t very well represented. There’s hardly any Hispanic players, no Asian-Americans, so that there’s no gay players is no real surprise. It would be like an alien dropping down from space. There’d be fear, then panic. They just wouldn’t know how to handle it.”

He’s since softened up, saying things are better for gay athletes in the professional sports world, even if only a handful are actually out, like Esera Tualo, Roy Simmons, Dave Kopay, Glenn Burke and Billie Bean.

Recently, former NBA player Charles Barkley spoke up for gay rights, saying, “It shouldn’t be a big deal to anybody. I know I’ve played with gay players and against gay players and it just shouldn’t surprise anybody or be an issue.”

What do you think? Should professional athletes come out?

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  • stevemd2

    as someone else said – bit by bit. IMHO coming out is the most important issue, not gay marriage

    Its hard to hate people you know and respect. And so easy to be led to demonize and hate people you dont know.

    thats what segregation of blacks was mostly about

    And the same thing re why Hitler threw the Jews into the Ghetto. In the leadup to the holocaust.

  • The is a documentary called OUT/The Glenn Burke Story. I recommend it to all jocks,gay or straight and those not interested in sports. I knew Glenn, and his struggle was compounded when both his MLB managers were homophobic. Tommy Lasorta traded Glenn when he was dating Lasorta’s openly gay son, and Billy Martin, who introduced Glenn to other players at Spring Training, by adding “BY the way, he’s a fagot!
    This is the 21 century, and it would be nice if there were changes… and this comes as a welcome surprise, however… unless an athlete is very rich, chances are he would lose money making endorsements by outing themselves.