Former Villanova basketball player Will Sheridan, who graduated four years ago, is only the second former Div. 1 male basketball player to publicly come out of the closet as gay. John Amaechi was the first. Former Long Beach State 49er Travon Free previously came out as bisexual. Sheridan will be interviewed on ESPN's Outside the Lines today at 3pmET.
The ESPN.com article profiling Sheridan's coming out says he was out to teammates and dated men while at Villanova, but that he held back from coming out publicly.
Though Sheridan wasn't out publicly in college, he didn't entirely hide either. He quietly and privately dated a man from another Philadelphia school. Plus he was artsy -- he took part in spoken-word performances at Villanova. He ran funny, on his tiptoes. ("I actually tried to change that for years," Sheridan said. "Then I said, f--- it. Some people talk funny. I run funny.") So there was plenty of stereotypical ammunition and rumor mill gossip to load up opposing fans.
And, as we've been saying for years, Sheridan's coming out on his team was accepted, Sheridan didn't lose playing time, and he didn't lose friends.
The locker room dynamic, team chemistry, none of it changed. He and [teammate and roommate Mike] Nardi would room together for three of their four seasons and Sheridan remained a popular teammate and vital part of the Wildcats' success.
The players joked the way they always joked, talked the way they always talked.
Hopefully a few more people will now understand that the attitude toward gays in sports isn't just changing, it has already changed. Our very own Jim Buzinski is quoted heavily in a companion ESPN.com piece about jock culture.
You can follow Sheridan on Twitter, where he promotes his blossoming music career...and yesterday Tweeted: I guarantee tomorow will be EPIC!!!