We keep being told that LGBT athletes and coaches coming out publicly will be distractions to their teams. Their public coming out will turn the focus of the team away from the task at hand and toward the player and the media.
The Princeton University football team turned that backward notion on its head last Saturday as they clobbered Lafayette College, 40-7, in the Tigers' season opener. This was just four days after the story of Mason Darrow, the Tigers' gay offensive tackle, came to light publicly on Outsports. Darrow was with the team for the game and played at tackle in a back-up role.
...the Tigers (1-0) ran over Lafayette (0-3) like an Acela Express over a puppy. At least a puppy would have yipped a little. The Leopards went pretty quietly.
In my interview with Princeton coach Bob Surace a couple weeks ago, I asked him if he was worried about having some off-the-field media attention about Darrow's sexual orientation just days before his season opener.
"Here at Princeton, if we can't handle this and say, 'we're supportive of everybody no matter what their background, religion, race or sexual orientation,' then we don't have the right guys in the locker room," Surace said.
With the absolutely demolition of the Lafayette Leopards - in a road game, no less - it seems Surace has the right guys in the locker room.
Jim Buzinski and I have often recommended players and coaches come out far away from the season. We're both rethinking that advice now.