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Positive reaction to gay lacrosse player

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Andrew McIntosh

Andrew McIntosh, captain of the Oneonta University lacrosse team in New York state, wrote about his coming out process in a moving piece for Outsports. His story touched a lot people and McIntosh has been deluged with e-mail from athletes, coaches and fans. His local paper, the Oneata Daily Star, has published a story and finds that reaction on campus is also positive.

Several lacrosse players agreed McIntosh’s revelation wasn’t a big deal.

``It didn’t really faze anybody,’’ Tom Kelly, 21, a SUNY Oneonta junior, said after the Red Dragons’ practice on the all-weather field near Hunt Union on Tuesday. ``It’s not really looked at, `he’s homosexual,’ _ he’s our teammate. ... We’re still all very comfortable together.’’

The paper also found McIntosh applauded among students they interviewed.

Justin Eisenschmidt, 20, a junior from Glens Falls, said McIntosh took a bold step in revealing his sexuality to teammates, who are strangers compared to friendships molded during high school athletics.

McIntosh’s decision to be honest with his team is ``the mark of a good leader,’’ Eisenschmidt said, and his frankness may help pave the way for others with similar issues.

Five years ago, a college campus wouldn’t have been as accepting of an athletic captain coming out of the closet, students said.

``It represents our society’s progress,’’ said Jordan Aily, 23, a senior from Queens. ``It’s awesome.’’

McIntosh, for all the right reasons, is a big man on campus, simply by being honest about who he is. It shows the power of coming out stories. I heard from an athlete who wrote his coming out story for Outsports years ago. He said a childhood friend stumbled across the article recently, then came out to his parents the following weekend. While we will continue to write about all gay athletes (closeted or not or in between), the value of putting a face to the issue continues to be immeasurable.