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Celebrating LGBTQ History Month with Cyd and Jim

No history of out sports athletes can be complete without the two openly gay men who co-founded the world’s leading LGBTQ sports site.

Jim Buzinski (top) and Cyd Zeigler, Jr., traveled to Sydney, Australia to cover the 2002 Olympics.
Brent Mullins

October is LGBTQ History Month and we are dedicating this second day of coverage of sports pioneers with the two openly gay men who co-founded Outsports 20 years ago next month.

Jim Buzinski and Cyd Zeigler, Jr., published the very first blog on outsports.com on Nov. 10, 1999, and remained a two-man operation for almost all of the last two decades, with contributors and guest columnists helping them share the message that Courage Is Contagious.

A little more than 13 years later the guys sold the site to SB Nation, and in February this year, I joined the team as its first managing editor and we hired a team of contributors and social media mavens. But this isn’t about us, it’s about Cyd and Jim, and their story.

The New York Times profiled them in 2011.

Buzinski and Zeigler, who have never been a couple, met at a gay pride event in West Hollywood in 1996. Buzinski was manning a flag-football booth; Zeigler had friends on Buzinski’s team. They began watching N.F.L. games together on Sundays and playing football together on Saturdays.

They were in a coffee shop on Cape Cod in 1999 when, with Buzinski reading The Wall Street Journal and Zeigler reading Sports Illustrated, they started talking about sports and the Web.

“We’re two gay people who love sports, and we thought, ‘There is nothing on the Internet for us,’ ” Buzinski said.

Outsports was born in late 1999, mostly as an N.F.L. blog.

In 2003, they did a Q & A with a website called Pop Matters in advance of the very first Outsports Pride conference, but the site didn’t reveal whether it was Jim or Cyd answering the questions.

PopMatters: What prompted you to start Outsports?

Outsports: There was simply no place on the Web to meet other gay sports fans. Now, there is.

PM: From what readers of Outsports tell you, what kind of climate exists today for gay and lesbian athletes?

O: It’s a very mixed climate for gay and lesbian athletes today. Some are out to their straight teams and have complete acceptance; others are pushed into the closet on a daily basis. We’re finding, though, that with each passing year, there’s more and more acceptance of gay and lesbian athletes across the board.

PM: What kind of feedback have you received?

O: The feedback we’ve received has been overwhelming. From a high school basketball player in Indiana struggling with his sexuality, to the featured sports columnist of the New York Times, we have been flooded with positive feedback as to what we’re doing in building a community at Outsports.com

PM: There was controversy around John Rocker’s heated encounter with patrons in a gay-friendly restaurant in Dallas this year. You received a lot of e-mail about the situation. Can you comment on what those messages were like?

O: Most of the negative e-mails we have received came after Howard Stern’s interview of Jeremy Shockey. Shockey said some stupid things about gays in the NFL and we called him on it. The ensuing batch of 300 or so e-mails accused us of everything from undermining the First Amendment to sentencing ourselves to hell. The language many used isn’t suitable for print.

PM: You’ve written a lot this season about NFL players and comments they’ve made in interviews about gays. What is your perception of homophobia and heterosexism in the NFL?

O: It’s something that hasn’t been addressed by the NFL before. This was the first season where they were being held accountable for what players were saying, and for their anti-gay policies. With time, the players and the teams will come around.

PM: Through Outsports, what exciting things have you been able to do? What people have you been able to meet?

O: The most exciting stuff we’ve been able to do is best exemplified by the two lead columns on Outsports.com right now--both from collegiate athletes paving their own way out of the closet. We’re reaching young gay athletes who are finding out, through Outsports.com, that it’s OK to be gay; and, through them, we’re helping straight athletes understand the same.

PM: What are your goals for the future?

O: We want to have an effect on athletics. For too long, the “straight, white, good-old-boys network” has run sports. Now, we’re starting to break into that. And we’re heralding those people who, like us, won’t be satisfied until homophobia is stricken from sports, until it really is completely OK to be a gay male athlete in the United States.

Jim Buzinski (left) and Cyd Zeigler at Hi Tops West Hollywood at opening night of Outsports Pride, June 6, 2019.
Dawn Ennis

On the site’s 15th anniversary, Cyd and Jim looked back at all their accomplishments:

Over the years Outsports has broken some of the stories that have helped shape the LGBT sports movement and shift the conversation in sports, including the coming stories of over 100 people in sports like former NBA player John Amaechi; active college basketball players Jallen Messersmith, Derek Schell and Derrick Gordon; Transgender athletes and coaches Kye Allums, Chris Mosier and Stephen Alexander; Former football players Brian Sims, Alan Gendreau and Wade Davis; Current college football players Conner Mertens and Mitch Eby; Olympians Charline Labonte and Robbie Manson; and NFL player Michael Sam.

Other non-coming-out stories Outsports has broken include Jeremy Shockey’s anti-gay comments to Howard Stern and the NFL Shop’s ban of the word “gay” on its jerseys. Outsports was also the first publication to seek out dozens of professional athletes to comment on gay issues.

Outsports has been nominated for three GLAAD Media Awards and two NLGJA Awards, winning the latter’s 2003 award for Excellence in New Media.

Cyd Zeigler (left), Jim Buzinski and Melissa Bell of Vox Media at Outsports Pride at UCLA in Los Angeles on June 7, 2019.
Dawn Ennis

I’m very proud to be part of this team with Jim and Cyd. We continue to tell stories of out athletes and fans. But of all the many stories told over two decades, my personal favorite post remains the one way they wrote back in 1999: “NFL Cafe.”

Cyd lost a bet to Jim over the 1998 Super Bowl. The payment was a complete breakfast of Jim’s choice on opening day of the 1999 season. Chef Cyd, being an exceptional cook, prepared a complete menu with a separate dish from every team. Here are the recipes:

NFC WEST

NEW ORLEANS FRENCH TOAST

French toast with glazed pecans and light syrup.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tspn. pure vanilla extract, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Soak six bread slices in the egg mixture, 1 slice at a time, for about 30 seconds, then transfer to a tray or baking sheet; don’t oversoak. Melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a pan or griddle. Add the bread to the skillet and cook over moderately low heat, turning once, until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Melt another 1/4 tbsp. of butter between each slice. Remove from heat. Mix together 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter and 1/2 cup chopped pecans until sugar is completely melted. Pour over French Toast. Serve with light syrup.

ATLANTA PEACH & PECAN PANCAKES

Peaches that have been soaked in cinnamon are combined with pecans in this Georgia classic.

Prepare two large peaches by peeling and slicing them into a bowl. Add 1 tsp. cinnamon and 2 tsp. sugar and mix gently. Let sit one hour. With fork, mix 2 cups of pancake mix with 2/3 cup water, 2/3 cup milk, and 1 egg. Mix in sliced peaches and pour in excess juice. Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Heat greased pan or griddle on medium heat. Pour mix until you’ve reached the size of the pancake you want. Cook until bubbles break on surface and edges just begin to dry. Flip over pancakes. Cook another 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove. Serve with pecan syrup.

THE KANDREEKY’S FAVORITE

An egg-white omelet stuffed with white chicken breast, spinach, and Provolone cheese.

Separate 4 egg whites into a bowl. Mix well. Set aside. Cube 4 ounces of chicken breast; cook on medium-high heat until cooked through; set aside. Cookseveral spinach leaves on high for 2 minutes. Drain; set aside. Pour egg whites into a pan on medium-high heat. When edges are hard, flip eggs over. Add chicken and spinach to one side of the omelet; cover with 2 slices Provolone cheese. Fold omelet. Remove from heat. Serve.

ST. LOUIS SCRAMBLE

Avocadoes exported from California, scrambled with monterey jack cheese and egg whites.

Separate 4 egg whites into a bowl. Mix well. Set aside. Take 1/4 avocado and 2 ounces low-fat monterey jack cheese and cut into small pieces. Pour egg whites and cheese into a pan on medium-high heat. Scramble while cooking. Add avocado for last 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Serve.

FORTY-NINER FRENCH TOAST

French toast made with thick slices of sourdough bread, topped with syrup.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tspn. pure vanilla extract, 1/4 tspn. nutmeg and 1/2 tspn. Soak six thick slices of sourdough bread in the egg mixture, 1 slice at a time, for about 45 seconds each, then transfer to a tray or baking sheet; don’t over soak. Spray non-fat non-stick spray in a pan or griddle. Add the bread to the skillet and cook over moderately low heat, turning once, until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Melt another 1/4 tbsp. of butter between each slice.

Remove from heat. Serve with syrup.

NFC CENTRAL

PASTER’S PREDICTABLE OMELET

Koo Koo Roo chicken and Koo Koo Roo broccoli are folded inside a light egg- white omelet (From our friend who loves the Vikings and Koo Koo Roo chicken.)

Break 4 eggs into a bowl and mix with a whisk. Pour into non-stick pan on medium high. Cook until hardened on the sides. Flip over. Add 1/2 cup Koo Koo Roo broccoli and 3 ounces Koo Koo Roo chicken to one half of the omelet; fold over other half. Cook another 60 seconds. Remove from heat. Serve.

DA BEARS KIELBASA

Polska kielbasa fried in a skillet with onions and peppers. Served with eggs optional.

Slice 1/2 onion and 1/2 green pepper; set aside. Heat pan on medium high heat. Split 1 pound kielbasa down the middle and cook in pan, flipping every 3 minutes until cooked through. Put on low heat and add peppers and onion. Cover. Cook for 10 minutes, removing cover every two minutes to turn kielbasa. Remove from heat. Serve.

“BARRY”LESS PANCAKES

Buttermilk pancakes with your choice of fruit (but no “barries” allowed).

With fork, mix 2 cups of pancake mix with 1 cup water, 2/3 cup milk, and 1 egg. Heat greased pan or griddle on medium heat. Pour mix until you’ve reached the size of the pancake you want. Cook until bubbles break on surface and edges just begin to dry. Flip over pancakes. Cook another 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove. Slabber one small pat of butter on each pancake. Serve with syrup.

TAMPA BAY TANGERINE JUICE

Fresh squeezed Florida orange-tangerine juice, with a twist of tangerine.

NFC EAST

SEHORN SAUSAGE

A 9” sausage grilled with two tomatoes, served with a light cream sauce.

Gill a 9” sweet chicken sausage until cooked through. Grill two small (but not too small) cherry tomatoes for five minutes. Remove the sausage and tomatoes from the grill. Place the sausage on a plate with the two tomatoes at one end of the sausage. Drizzle 2 tbsp. low fat ranch dressing over the sausage and tomatoes. Serve.

CELLAR-DWELLING SIDES - PHILLY

Your choice of any two side-orders: turkey sausage, bacon, melon slices, bagel, or toast.

REDSKIN SPECIAL

Yellow corn pancakes with cranberries and pure maple syrup.

With fork, mix 2 cups of pancake mix with 2/3 cup water, 2/3 cup milk, and 1 egg. Blend in 2/3 cup frozen corn and 1/3 cup whole cranberries. Heat greased pan or griddle on medium heat. Pour mix until you’ve reached the size of the pancake you want. Cook until bubbles break on surface and edges just begin to dry. Flip over pancakes. Cook another 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove. Serve with pure maple syrup.

COWBOYS OVER-THE-HILL OMELET

Aged cheddar is shredded with diced aged ham and folded into eggs whipped with aged white wine.

Break 4 eggs into a bowl and mix with 1/8 cup aged white wine with a whisk. Pour into non-stick pan on medium high. Cook until hardened on the sides. Flip over. Add 1 ounce aged cheddar cheese and 1 ounce diced aged ham to one half of the omelet; fold over other half. Cook another 60 seconds. Remove from heat. Serve.

ARIZONA MAC & CHEESE

A brunch special, you can make your own homemade mac and cheese but the boxed variety is faster and cheaper.

1 pound ground beef

1 med. tomato diced

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup corn sliced jalapenos (as much or as little as you like)

1 cup shredded cheese. cheddar or taco cheese (your choice)

1 package taco seasoning

3 boxes mac and cheese.

(This one serves a lot of people)

Prepare the mac and cheese as normal prepare the ground beef as stated on the taco seasoning package add the diced tomatoes, corn, black beans, and jalapenos to the beef and let it simmer for about 5 -7 minutes. Mix the beef and Mac and Cheese well and put in an oven safe dish. Top with the shredded cheese some diced tomatoes and jalapenos (for style) Bake for 10 minutes in a 350 degree pre heated oven then broil for 1 minute to make the cheese nice and bubbly serves 6 - 8.

Submitted by NameIWantTaken@aol.com

AFC WEST

AL DAVIS WAFFLE

L.A.? Oakland? Wherever he decides to take his team, these waffles are as fruity as that wacky Raiders owner.

Beat 2 cups pancake mix with 1 1/3 cups milk and 2 tbsp. vegetable oil with wire whisk. Pour about a sixth onto greased hot waffle iron. Bake about 5 minutes or until steaming stops. Remove carefully and put waffle on plate. Add fruit (recommend blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, bananas). Serve with syrup.

CHIEF’S CHOICE

It doesn’t get more Midwest than this: steak and eggs, served with Heinz ketchup.

Grill a 16 oz. steak for about 30 minutes for medium; less for rare and more for well-done. Also fry 3 eggs on medium-high for a minute on each side. Garnish together on a plate with parsley. Serve with Heinz ketchup.

DENVER OMELET

Omelet with ham, green bell peppers and cheddar cheese.

Break 3 eggs into a bowl. Mix well. Set aside. Combine 1 ounce diced cooked ham, 1/3 cup sliced green bell peppers, and 1 ounce sliced cheddar cheese. Pour eggs into a pan on medium-high heat. Cook until edges are hardened. Flip. Add ham, peppers and cheese to one side of the egg, then fold egg in half. Cook another 60-90 seconds. Remove from heat. Serve.

SEATTLE’S BEST

A grande drip.

Head to your local Starbucks (there’s one near you, we’re sure). After waiting in line (be prepared for 10 minutes of waiting), tell the barrista (that’s the guy behind the counter) you want a “grande drip.” Be sure to get a “glove” for the cup, so as not to burn yourself. Add sugar and/or milk (optional). Sip carefully, as it may be hot. Enjoy.

SAN DIEGO HUEVOS

Huevos scrambled with tortilla chips, chili peppers, jack cheese, and pollo.

Break 3 eggs into a bowl. Mix well. Set aside. Take 1/4 pound chicken breast and cut into small pieces. Cook chicken over medium-high heat until the pieces are cooked through. Remove from heat. Dice in small pieces 1/2 tbsp. chili peppers and 1 ounce jack cheese. Set aside. Pour in all ingredients plus 3/4 cup tortilla strips into pan on medium-high heat. Scramble while cooking. Remove from heat. Serve.

AFC CENTRAL

BALTIMORE BENNY

English muffins topped with crab, poached eggs, and a special hollandaise sauce.

For Hollandaise Sauce:

4 egg yolks

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon chopped shallot

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 tablespoons water

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1 1/2 cups clarified butter

For Eggs:

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

8 eggs

6 oz Cooked crab

Thinly sliced Fresh chives

Eight English Muffin halves

The Hollandaise Sauce - In a stainless-steel bowl, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, shallot, vinegar and salt. Place over (not touching) simmering water in a pan and whisk together continuously until the mixture is a pale lemon yellow and falls in thick ribbons when the whisk is lifted, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the water and cayenne. Then, while whisking continuously, slowly drizzle in the clarified butter until all of it has been used and a thick emulsion has formed. Cover and keep warm.

The Eggs - Pour water into a large frying pan to a depth of 3 inches and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the water is just below the boiling point. Add the salt and vinegar. One at a time, crack the eggs into a small ramekin or tea cup and gently lower into the water. Work as quickly as possible so that all the eggs will cook in about the same amount of time. Cook until the whites are firm but the yolks are still soft, 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a paper towel-lined platter to drain. Trim away any straggly strands of egg.

Toast English Muffins.

Place Muffins on a plate. Put an egg on each half. Pour Hollandaise Sauce over each egg. Serve.

.500 TENNESSEE TOAST

One of the chef’s specialties, cinnamon swirl bread is half-cooked with his special egg-based sauce.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tspn. pure vanilla extract, 1/4 tspn. nutmeg and 1/2 tspn cinnamon. Soak six cinnamon swirl bread slices in the egg mixture, 1 slice at a time, for about 30 seconds, then transfer to a tray or baking sheet; don’t oversoak. Melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a pan or griddle. Add the bread to the skillet and cook over moderately low heat, turning once, until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Melt another 1/4 tbsp. of butter between each slice. Remove from heat. Serve with syrup.

PITTSBURGH PANCAKES

Hershey’s chocolate chip pancakes covered in melted butter, Hershey’s cocoa powder, and syrup.

With fork, mix 2 cups of pancake mix with 1 cup water, 2/3 cup milk, and 1 egg. Blend in 1 cup Hershey’s chocolate chips. Heat greased pan or griddle on medium heat. Pour mix until you’ve reached the size of the pancake you want. Cook until bubbles break on surface and edges just begin to dry. Flip over pancakes. Cook another 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove. Put small pat of butter on each pancake. Garnish with Hershey’s cocoa powder. Serve with syrup.

FLAPJACKS ONVILLE

Chef Cyd’s special flapjacks, with orange juice blended into the mix, with bananas.

With fork, mix 2 cups of pancake mix with 1 cup water, 1/3 cup milk, 1/3 cup orange juice and 1 egg. Add 1 banana (sliced). Heat greased pan or griddle on medium heat. Pour mix until you’ve reached the size of the pancake you want. Cook until bubbles break on surface and edges just begin to dry. Flip over pancakes. Cook another 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.

CLEVELAND (HASH) BROWNS

Browned garlic mashed potatoes.

Peel 3 large potatoes. Boil in water until a knife slices into them with ease. Remove from heat and drain. Mash potatoes with 1/4 cup milk, 1 1/2 tbsp. crushed garlic and 1 tbsp. butter. Mash until no potato lumps are left. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Melt 1 tbsp. butter in pan. Cook mashed potatoes, breaking and flipping occasionally, until crisp and golden brown. Remove from heat. Serve.

TONY’S BENGAL SPECIAL

Start with Tony the Tiger’s favorite, Frosted Flakes, and top it off with a Tiger’s Milk bar.

Take large bowl and add 2 cups of Frosted Flakes. Pour in 1 1/2 cups milk. Remove Tiger’s Milk bar from packaging and set on plate. Serve.

AFC EAST

LUCKY HORSESHOE PANCAKES

Pancakes made in the shape of a horseshoe, with cinnamon and nutmeg - an autumn favorite.

With fork, mix 2 cups of pancake mix with 1 1/3 cups water, 1/3 cup milk, 1 egg, 2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg. Heat greased pan or griddle on medium heat. Pour in an exaggerated horshoe shape being sure not to let the mix all come together. Cook until bubbles break on surface and edges just begin to dry. Flip over pancakes carefully so they do not break. Cook another 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Serve.

DOUBLE BUFFALO BREAKFAST

An omelet with buffalo mozzarella and juicy buffalo.

Heat sprayed pan over medium high heat. Cook 1/4 cup ground buffalo until browned. Break three eggs into a bowl and blend with a whisk. Heat sprayed pan until drops of water sizzle upon contact. Pour eggs into the pan. Cook until edges are cooked through. Place 1/4 cup shaved buffalo mozzarella and ground buffalo on one half of the omelet; fold omelet. Cook another 60-90 seconds and serve.

NEW YORK MIDWEEK BREAKFAST

Two original glazed Krispy Kreme donuts and cup of coffee.

Get in a cab and tell da drivah to take ya to 265 West 23rd Street. Once you arrive, pay drivah. Stand outside the Krispy Kreme store and look around at some of the guys passing by, just to get your fill - you’ll be in Chelsea, after all. Wait until the “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign is lit. Try not to push everyone in line ovah, but wait patiently for the line to move. Once at the countah, order “two glazed and some coffee.” Pay cashier. Enjoy.

DOLPHIN SAFE BREAKFAST SANDWICH

An open-faced sandwich with wheat bread topped with a light tuna salad, fried eggs, and cheese.

Toast two pieces of wheat bread; set aside. Put one drained can of tuna into a bowl and add 3 tbsp. chopped celery, 1 tbsp. chopped walnuts and 2 tbsp. mayonnaise. Mix with a fork; set aside. Heat sprayed pan until drops of water sizzle upon contact. Break two eggs separately onto the pan. Cook until edges are hard; flip. Cook another 60-90 seconds. Remove from heat. Place the bread pieces next to one another on a plate. Spread tuna salad on each. Add 2 slices of provolone cheese - one on each sandwich. Add one egg to each piece of cheese. Serve.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS PANCAKES

Pancakes are stuffed with blueberries from Maine and drenched with Vermont pure maple syrup (can also be made with Cape Cod cranberries).

Recipe:

With fork, mix 2 cups of pancake mix with 1 1/3 cups water, 1/3 cup milk, and 1 egg. Blend in 1 1/2 cups of Maine blueberries or Cape Cod cranberries. Heat greased pan or griddle on medium heat. Pour mix until you’ve reached the size of the pancake you want. Cook until bubbles break on surface and edges just begin to dry. Flip over pancakes. Cook another 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with Vermont pure maple syrup.