In the distractions of the holiday weekend, I totally missed this Q&A in the weekend New York Times, where Phoenix Suns star Steve Nash discussed, among other things, gays in the sport. Here is one answer that caught my eye:
Q. Is the N.B.A. ready for an openly gay player?
A. If a player in the locker room came out, it would come and go quickly, too. I really don’t think it’s a big issue anymore. I think it would be surprisingly accepted, and a shorter shelf life than maybe we would imagine. I think the time has come when it should happen soon. I think it will be something that won’t take on this life of its own. It won’t be the O. J. trial.
Bravo for Nash since we have been saying this for years. I have always thought that after the initial flurry of attention, the issue would die down and sports would go on. Often in interviews I use the extreme analogy of 9/11, saying that if we can get over that, we can certainly get over an openly gay pro athlete.
Nash's comments (he also discussed openly gay Suns president Rick Welts) echo those of Charles Barkley, and it's refreshing to see jocks being straightforward about this and not wringing their hands all concerned about how "impossible" it would be for an openly gay athlete.