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NFL: Combine
Michael Sam, drafted by the Saint Louis Rams

The Saint Louis Rams made history by selecting an openly gay player in the recent NFL draft, Missouri defensive end Michael Sam.

Sports commentators suggest this breakthrough could lead to a surge of gay males in top sports leagues, matching the prominence of well-known lesbian athletes like tennis greats Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, and basketball star Brittney Griner.

This seems unlikely, however, given, the emphasis in athletics on fierce competitive driveā€”an instinct more identified with masculinity than femininity. Current thinking on sexual orientation claims profound, intrinsic differences between gays and straights. So if lesbians are less conventionally feminine than straight women, and gay males are less conventionally masculine than straight men, gay females would have advantages over their less combative straight counterparts, while gay male athletes would enjoy no comparable edge over other males on playing fields.

Time will tell.

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Comments (3)

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  1. An  •  May 12, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    So lesbians have an adventage on the field or court there have been a lot of straight winners like Evert and Graf so this opinion goes nowhere.
    Unlike these straight players who never lost their endorsements like King lost everything during the surprising courtcase in 1981 after which she denied she was a lesbian with her husband beside her and did not come out of the closet before she was 51.

    Now take Martina Navratilova she could not come out when she wanted it, Chris Evert said Martina never was in the closet to the players and her friends, because it would have denied her the passport she was waiting for already for six years. It all became complicated when Martina did get her passport in 1981 and King had the courtcase Martina wanted totally to come out but was not allowed by the WTA out of fear for losing their sponsors and her girlfriend did not want to come out so she could only half come out.
    But everybody got the message and then we did get the jeering and the booing from the stands.
    The lack of american endorsements she got them from Europe and Japan. In the US only a campaign to make Chrissie Evert look so good and Martina so bad. So if you want to tell me Martina had it easy go ahead, Martina does not regret coming out, so many boys and girls took so much strenght from her, boys too they said they learned the rules of tennis and followed Martina because they had no rolmodel only Liberace and well he denied he was gay until the end.

    • Patrick B. Miano  •  May 22, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Your points are valid, but Michael was suggesting that maybe lesbian athletes have an advantage. He was not asserting it. Regarding your comments on Chris Evert vs. Martina Navratilova, the advantage was in Chris’ court long before Martina came out. The reason is that while neither woman was a raving beauty, Chris had the edge in attractiveness. She was at least pretty while Martina was decidedly plain. In advertising and marketing, looks matter, especially in a “glamour” sport like tennis.

      Frankly, Martina does not strike me as a very nice person. She tried to reneg on her prenup with her partner and she refers to herself as a Czech, even though she has been a naturalized American citizen for years.

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