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Swoopes: coming out "scary" and "positive"

Sheryl SwoopesLife is good for the only openly gay professional basketball player. After 10 years in Houston Sheryl Swoopes has signed with the Seattle Storm, recovered from back surgery that kept her from playing last season, and is among 29 players being considered for the USA's 12-women Olympic roster. In an article with Swoopes talks about coming out three years ago:

"It was scary," Swoopes said. "Even if I didn't have a child, it would have been scary. But having a child, it's even scarier because you never really know how people are going to react.

"Even today, there are times when I do worry about it. But it's such a relief that we can be honest, I can just be myself, live my life and not have to worry about who knows, who doesn't know. I would like to see us - meaning this world - get to a point someday where (being gay is) not an issue, it's not a topic, we're not discussing this. There were so many more positive things that came out of (coming out) than negative, and if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't think twice."

The conventional wisdom being kicked around is that coming out in professional sports is risky business. But take it from the pro athletes who have actually come out while playing their sport - Swoopes, Martina (tennis), and Andrew Goldstein (lax), to name the only three that exist to my knowledge - and that conventional wisdom is 100% wrong. Given the healthy, happy family and professional life Swoopes is leading, maybe the real risk is not coming out. --Ryan Quinn