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Roundup: Media Have Big Gay Sports Day

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Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE

The announcement of the partnership between the NHL, its players union and the You Can Play Project prompted a flurry of articles about gays in sports in the mainstream media. The New York Times thought the issue was big enough to put its story on A1, combining the NHL news with efforts in the NFL.

Most interesting about the NFL was this nugget in the New York Times story:

In the N.F.L., the league's security department would monitor public reaction, looking for potential threats from fans in the event a player comes out.

It's important that leagues develop an action fan for when someone finally does come out. One caveat -- there is no evidence we have that anyone is about ready to publicly come out. The NHL announcement was not timed to this possibility, but the product of a lot of negotiations with You Can Play.

The best quote I saw came from Donald Fehr, head of the NHL players' union, who said something that is obvious but so seldom expressed to the Los Angeles Times:

Asked to give perspective to the significance of Thursday's announcement, Fehr demurred. "I'll leave that to other people to try and judge," he said. "You don't look for compliments for doing the right thing. You don't get Brownie points just because you do what you should do."

Your media roundup:

Major Pro Leagues Prepare for the ‘I’m Gay’ Announcement - NYTimes.com
The N.H.L. has formed a partnership with a gay advocacy group to plan training and counseling on gay issues, and the N.F.L. is looking to smooth the way for acceptance.

NHL, players join with You Can Play to fight homophobia in hockey - latimes.com
The league and the players' union sign a pact with the LGBT advocacy group to make inclusion the policy and offer education and outreach.

Leagues prepare for day when gay athlete comes out -- USA TODAY
Locker rooms, on one level, are really nothing more than giant closets, places for athletes to hang up their clothes. So how come no active gay male athlete has come out of any of the cavernous closets of North America's four major team sports?

Gay Pro Athletes Get Backing of Nike, NHL as Sponsors Await - Bloomberg
By the time former Phoenix Suns executive Rick Welts’s I-am-gay announcement appeared on the front page of the May 15, 2011, New York Times, he already had revealed his secret to friends, co-workers and business associates.

Sponsors scramble to back first out gay athlete - Salon.com
As rumors swirl that four NFL players are ready to come out, sponsors vie for the chance to cash in.

Can the NFL Catch Up on Gay Rights in Time for 'More Than a Handful' of Players to Come Out? - The Atlantic Wire
The NHL threw down the gauntlet Thursday, announcing that it wants to become the "most inclusive professional sports league," which is something of a test to the NFL, whose officials are scrambling a prevent defense for the homophobia they're anticipating as more players prepare to come out.

NHL, players union take on homophobia by partnering with You Can Play Project - NY Daily News
“The NHL and NHLPA were at such odds five months ago they couldn’t even start their season on time,” Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of the website Outsports.com, told the Daily News via telephone Thursday evening. “And the fact they would come together and jointly be a part of this movement to end homophobia shows how seriously they’re taking this issue and how important ending homophobia is to the sport.”