clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Carl Lewis on Martin Luther King and sacrifice

Carl Lewis is one of the people lending his voice to the remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend with a column at the Huffington Post. Lewis was my first sports hero; His four-gold performance at the 1984 Olympics captured my imagination and started me off on a wonderful six-year varsity running career. Part of his column stood out not only for how much it rings true for me, but also how ironic I think it might be for Lewis to write. He writes:

Once I was old enough to understand, my mother would tell me: "It was a time of sacrifice. But sometimes if you want to make things better, you have to sacrifice first."

Some of the sacrifices were unspeakable. One of my father's closest friends was a man named Chris McNair. His little girl, Denise, was one of four children killed in a 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

Clearly, the concept of sacrifice for the betterment of others -- for the betterment of our nation as a whole -- is a pretty good place to start when celebrating the memory of Martin Luther King.

I don't know that Carl Lewis is gay, but there is so much that says he is from widespread rumors to his flamboyant style to the fact that he's never been married and has no children. I personally believe Lewis is gay -- but again, I don't know. But if he is gay, it's disappointing to hear him talk about sacrifice and making things better while he sits in the closet.

I understand how Lewis feels about being publicly gay; I even sympathize with him. In the 1980s he was one of the biggest names in sports, yet he couldn't get a big endorsement deal because the public perceived him to be gay. He should have been making millions more than he was, but he wasn't because he was flamboyant. So I understand the lingering taste in his mouth about his sexuality.

But if Lewis is gay, maybe he'll take his own advice and come out publicly on Monday, when we remember the ultimate sacrifice made by a man who had a dream.