It is a fair statement to say that there is a lot of homophobia in sport. Derogatory statements and abuse from ignorant fans are commonplace in the highest echelon of British sports such as Premier League soccer, and homophobia unfortunately exists in global sport. In the case of boxing, it is refreshing to see that Orlando Cruz has came out and revealed that he is gay – and he has said that he is happier and a better boxer for it.
Cruz’s professional record of 20 wins from 23 fights is very good, and he is currently the number four featherweight boxer with the WBO. Surely those looking for tips for your betting will not think any less of Cruz because he is gay, and his athletic performance will actually be improved because he no longer has to hide who he really is.
Boxing is not the only sport in which there are very few gay athletes. Taking the example of American soccer player Robbie Rogers into account, it is clear to see that the talented attacker would not have stated his homosexuality if he had any intention to remain playing in England. It was not surprising when the American decided to move back to his more forgiving and open-minded homeland, and sign for LA Galaxy.
Rogers is the first openly gay athlete to grace the MLS, and it is great that the 26-year-old can be happy in his professional and personal life both, rather than hiding away an important truth. The abuse from opposition fans that he would have received on a weekly basis if he had stayed at Leeds or had played in the Premier League will not be as prevalent in the MLS, which is how it should be.
The Guardian newspaper has recently ran a story stating that at least eight professional footballers in England have revealed their homosexuality to their team-mates, but will keep the fact a secret to the rest of the public. The main reason for this is to avoid a world of abuse from fans, which shows a lot of negative traits in your average British soccer fan and the wider society in general.
All-in-all, the examples of Cruz and Rogers will hopefully give other sportsmen and women the confidence to reveal their homosexuality, which will slowly but surely lead to a change in how gay athletes are perceived.