Like so many other gay men in sports, Tyson Lusk feared sharing his true self with the Univ. of South Carolina baseball team. Yet as the program’s director of baseball operations, he knew he couldn’t find true happiness until he was able to reveal his secret to them and others in the Gamecocks athletic department.
Yesterday he took the opportunity to share his story publicly for the first time, in a story for D1Baseball.com.
“Our baseball coaches and players have been so supportive,” Lusk told Outsports. He actually told the team before the story ran, just after the 2016 baseball season. The Gamecocks finished the season ranked No. 14 in the nation.
“From the time I told them, it's been nothing but total support and kindness. I was extremely nervous telling the team, but all those fears were put to rest. The coaches and players treat me the exact same as before. It really has been great.”
He’s also gotten nothing but positive feedback from colleagues in the Univ. of South Carolina athletic department. In fact, it was their response and support that gave him the courage to share his story publicly.
“Their response is what gave me the courage to do anything publicly. I've had several other dept employees contact me today with words of encouragement. I told our administrators how proud they should be of our staff.”’
Lusk previously worked with the UNC-Chapel Hill baseball team. He is a Tar Heel himself.
Lusk’s story shows the power of what we call “the domino effect.” He had found courage from the story of Drew Martin, the assistant athletic director at TCU who came out a couple years ago.
Lusk said he drew encouragement and reassurance by reading about other people in college athletics who had come out, including Drew Martin, an associate athletics director at TCU. Before Lusk came out to his team, he spoke with Martin a few times, and he was heartened to hear Martin say that his relationships with colleagues weren’t affected at all after he came out.
We as a community and a sports movement really have to start asking ourselves when we’re going to stop fear-mongering about coming out in sports. The response to LGBT people coming out is positive so much more than it is negative, we can barely see the darkness. Yet too many of us continue to talk about fear and rejection, instead of hope and acceptance.
We’re so glad Lusk has shined more light on the true heart of athletes: They will continue to accept you no matter what your sexual orientation is.