Part of Outsports’ series on our 100 most important moments in gay sports history.
Cricket, 2011. On Feb. 27, 2011, Steven Davies became the first publicly out international cricketer in history. He had already been out to teammates for a while, but the team banded together to conceal the secret from the public. For those who focus on the destructive impact an out gay player would have in a locker room, Davies' team laid the blueprint for how to handle it effectively. From the original Telegraph article in which he came out:
The 24-year-old Surrey player made the startling confession to his team-mates just before the tour to Australia, but they agreed to keep the story “in house” to protect him and so that it would not be a distraction.
In a remarkable piece of mentoring, Andrew Strauss, the England captain, and Andy Flower, the coach, undertook to ring every member of the team on Davies’s behalf. “It was a fantastic thing to do,” he says. “It was a massive relief, telling the lads. The difference is huge. I am so much happier.”
While some in America may think the story of an English cricketer is of little consequence, to the cricket world it was, as one sports columnist put it, "perhaps the most important sports story of the year so far. It may even retain that title throughout 2011."
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