Less than two weeks after openly gay NBA executive Rick Welts left the Phoenix Suns to follow his heart, he's been hired as president and COO of the Golden State Warriors.
This is big, people. It's another sign of the eroding homophobia in sports. It was one thing for Welts to come out. But to leave his job and then be quickly hired by the one team in the specific area he was moving to is an incredibly loud statement. Welts' fear for years was that he would not be able to get a job after he came out. No need to fear anymore.
Said Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob:
Rick is simply one of the most highly regarded executives in the NBA, and his accomplishments at both the team and league levels are extremely impressive. His track record in all facets of the business - sponsorship, marketing, public relations, event management, team services, merchandising - and his ability to be strategically creative and cutting-edge make him the ideal candidate to lead our organization. Quite honestly, I'm convinced that we could not have found a better candidate for the job.
We saw this before with Gareth Thomas, who came out and then was picked up by another team. Now it's happened with Welts. Years ago we saw Andrew Goldstein, who was an openly gay lacrosse goalie, be drafted by a Major League Lacrosse team...then get picked up by a second team (the Long Island Lizards).