Each week, Outsports stops the clock for an instant reply of the week that was. It’s our way of memorializing the glorious victories, the ignominious defeats, and the players and personalities who made them, lived them or just couldn’t avoid them.
We realize our roster may differ from yours, and we welcome your comments, contributions and critiques. We read them all! Details on how to reach us are below, after our look at the week’s winners and losers.
Winner: Jill Ellis
Calling her role as coach of the undefeated world champion U.S. women’s national soccer team “the honor of a lifetime,” Jill Ellis announced on Tuesday she plans to resign. Among soccer coaches around the globe, Ellis is the only one who coached two women’s world cup winning teams. Ellis coached 127 USWNT games, more than any other coach in history. She leaves after more than five years with an incredible record of 102-7-18. Ellis, 52, announced in a statement on the U.S. Soccer website that she will step down as head coach following the completion of the team’s Victory Tour in early October. “I want to thank and praise them for their commitment and passion to not only win championships but also raise the profile of this sport globally while being an inspiration to those who will follow them. I want to sincerely thank the world class coaches and staff with whom I’ve had the privilege to work - they are quintessential professionals and even better people. And finally, I want to thank the Federation for their support and investment in this program, as well as all the former players, coaches, and colleagues that have played an important role in this journey.” Tonight Ellis coaches her World Cup winners in the first match of their 2019 Victory Tour in an international friendly against Ireland at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena at 7 p.m. PDT.
Losers: Cheapskate WNBA League Officials
NBA players flying to the All-Star Game in Las Vegas last weekend had to sit in coach. Our friend, Matt Ellentuck at SBNation, tweeted: “I talked to Brittney Griner who told me she was seated in a middle seat. She’s 6’8”. She paid her own money to upgrade her seat.” Kudos to Las Vegas Aces coach and president Bill Laimbeer, who spoke to the Associated Press about this nonsense. “I put $20,000 in our budget to fly the players first class, and the league said you couldn’t do that,” he told The Associated Press. “The league refused to let us do that. I made a complaint at the board of governors meeting about that specific issue. They are our best assets, they are our All-Stars; treat them with respect. I apologized to them that I couldn’t get that done.” Read more from ESPN by clicking here.
Winners: The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team
I could have just as easily chosen Rachel Bachman of the Wall Street Journal as the winner for this entry. She wrote: “On July 9, two days after the U.S. team won the World Cup, U.S. Soccer announced a five-game victory tour sponsored by Allstate. That was one game longer than the original four-game plan if the team won the World Cup, which is spelled out in the team’s collective bargaining agreement with a set pay rate for each game. But the extra game created a compensation issue. As recently as last Friday, U.S. Soccer representatives told players’ representatives that they planned to classify tonight’s game against Ireland as a friendly, not a “victory tour” match, said Becca Roux, executive director for the players association. For a friendly, the players would be paid about two-thirds less than they would be for the four other games on the victory tour, according to the team’s collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Soccer.” So each U.S. player would have taken home $5,250 for a win—and nothing for a tie or a loss, Bachman wrote. They should have received about $15,217 per player. But then Bachman started making calls, and officials suddenly had a change of heart: “U.S. Soccer notified team representatives that it would pay the players the victory-tour rate for all five games.” As noted above, the Ireland match begins at 7 p.m. PDT at the Rose Bowl.
Loser: LifeSiteNews “journalist” Doug Mainwaring
“Author” and self-described “marriage,” “family” and “children’s rights activist” Doug Mainwaring writes for the website described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “virulently anti-LGBT and anti-choice” — LifesiteNews — where he declared on Monday: “The gaying of America’s ‘national pastime’ is nearly complete.” Earlier this year, Mainwaring revealed he considers himself “ex-gay.” What really got Mainwaring all riled up this week was reading what our Cyd Zeigler, among other journalists, wrote about his hometown Washington Nationals Night OUT event. In between the 6th and 7th innings, a fan named Aaron Howell pulled a small box out of his pocket and got down on one knee to pop the question to his boyfriend Teddy West. The proposal was shown on the stadium’s big screen, and when Teddy said yes, 32,573 fans erupted in cheers. Twitter lit up, too. You can watch video by clicking here. Mainwaring wasn’t cheering, though. He wrote that he was pained by the thought of “innocent children... witnessing the absurdity of a bearded man down on one knee, proposing marriage to another man.” What kind of person looks upon love, and feels hate? No surprise, the writer also complained about Pride events held by all 31 NHL teams, the Atlanta Hawks, the Atlanta Falcons, the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Rays. Oh, and of course, how dare major league sports teams show support for transgender people like me! Loser. What’s missed by Mainwaring and our other opponents — of Pride Nights in particular, and LGBTQ equality overall — are their opportunities to show mercy, to ease the burden of the persecuted, to teach children about acceptance and most of all, to embrace love.
Winners: Gus Kenworthy and Pete Alonso
If you’ve ever been on the internet for more than ten seconds, you know it’s a terrible place. But now world champion freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy and surefire National League Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso have taken on the challenge of making it better as spokesmen for the Shred Hate program. Kenworthy is an Olympic silver medalist. Alonso smashed his way to the New York Mets rookie home run record before this season was even three months old. Apparently neither achievement was enough of a challenge for either one so they decided to try to end cyberbullying. Major League Baseball unveiled the Shred Hate program on its official Twitter feed this week. Shred Hate recruits young internet users to step up where social media platforms have failed by anonymously reporting cyberbullying and abuse across platforms like Twitter and Instagram. As further incentive to join the effort, DoSomething.org is offering all who sign up a chance to earn a $5,000 scholarship.
Loser: Caster Semenya
It pains me to use the word “loser” in connection with this South African champion and goddess — who has not lost an 800m in every race she’s run since 2015 — but this week, she did in fact lose, and lose big. A ruling by Switzerland’s highest court means she is barred from competing in her signature event later this summer at the 2019 World Championships. The Swiss Supreme Court reversed its temporary suspension of a new policy by the International Association of Athletics Federations that required Semenya to undergo hormone treatment for six months prior to any event, to lower her natural level of testosterone. Semenya, who is not transgender, has lived all her life as a female and has indicated she refuses to take body-altering drugs in order to qualify to compete, expressed regret at the decision while vowing to fight on: “I am very disappointed to be kept from defending my hard-earned title, but this will not deter me from continuing my fight for the human rights of all the female athletes concerned.” The IAAF issued a TERF-style statement declaring “biology has to trump gender identity.” But the fight is not over for Semenya, even though it looks grim. As letsrun.com reported, “Semenya’s still got a final swing at the Swiss Court, which now moves forward to hear her ‘case on the merits.’” However, it seems clear to marathoner and writer Amby Burfoot “the Court doesn’t think Semenya has a winning case. This is the language of a ‘summary examination,’ not a decision based on the full, upcoming consideration. But it is telling.” Semenya can also appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, but as Burfoot wrote, that could take years. Semenya tweeted: “First chapter of my life done, looking forward to my second chapter.”
Winner: Straight soccer player Albin Ekdal
Albin Ekdal might not be a household name outside Europe, but the midfielder for Sweden’s national team and Italy’s Sampdoria has a message he wants soccer players all around the world to hear: men’s soccer can learn a lot from women’s soccer when it comes to acceptance of gay athletes. “We have a lot to learn from them in this aspect,” Ekdal told Sport Bladet in an interview recorded in Italy and picked up by UK Yahoo Sports and Goal.com “There is obviously a greater acceptance. Women are probably smarter and more civilized in a group than men can be. But we should absolutely learn from how they’ve done it, because you obviously wish that it would be as accepted among men as among women to show your love. It doesn’t define who you are, just who you’re in love with. It should affect the football extremely little but sadly those problems are still here in 2019.” The captain also recorded a 90-second video that is now posted online and is worthy of your time. and sharing widely.
Loser: A dude who used the word ‘faggot’ to insult opponents in a tennis match
Nick Lee, a 2019 graduate of Vassar College, was a four-year member of the Vassar men’s tennis team, wrote about his doubles partner’s use of the slur “faggots” during a match. “It was mumbled just quietly enough that only I could hear it. Although it was not directed at me, it still felt like a slap to the face. The slur was uttered to demean our opponents, in response to being annoyed by them.... “Don’t say that,” I said to my doubles partner after he uttered the slur, angered by his use of the word... I then said to him, “Also, I am gay.” Due to my mannerisms and my masculinity, one of the first assumptions others make about me is that I am heterosexual. Being “straight passing” is a privilege in a number of ways. But it can also be very tiring for me. I constantly feel the need to decide whether or not I should come out to others when they assume that I am heterosexual. Unless I begin to walk around with a badge on me saying that “I am gay,” I know that people will continue to make this assumption about my sexuality... Allyship does not solely consist of being supportive to an LGBTQ+ friend when they are in the room. Being an ally does not solely mean showing up to Pride one day in the year. Being an ally means being an ally every day of the year.
Winners: Kiera Hogan, Diamante and Impact Wrestling
Impact Wrestling is going to be hot under the collar for some time to come as the company announced the signing of current Knockout Kiera Hogan to a multi-year contract on Thursday. Hogan’s new deal comes one week after going public with her relationship with former Impact co-worker Diamante. Hogan sat down with Outsports to discuss her new contract, coming out as LGBTQ and the events surrounding her and Diamante’s adorable announcement. “I knew in my heart that Impact was going to be my home.... I became so confident in being who I am to a point where I was just like, you know what, I feel like I can share this with the world. I don’t want to hide this anymore. I feel like I can be accepted for who I am now... I’ve been open about my relationship to an extent, but she has never talked about her personal life on social media. Nobody knew her relationship status or sexuality. For us to come out together, it’s almost like we’re both coming out of our shells. And people are finally seeing us for who we really are.” Our Brian Bell asked Hogan, “So, you and Diamante will be working together on season 2 of WOW Women of Wrestling?” “Yes, me and Diamante, who is now Adrenaline. We are Fire and Adrenaline, which is awesome. I think that’s perfect because when she’s on, she’s on. Adrenaline couldn’t have gone to a more perfect person. I think people are very excited to see Diamante back on TV and I’m really excited to be able to share that with her.”
Loser: The hater who used Simon Dunn’s image in a meme
Australian Simon Dunn is a former bobsledder and his country’s first out gay man to compete in the sport, a rugby player who isn’t shy about trolling homophobic colleagues by publicly kissing his boyfriend after wins, and as Ken Schultz wrote, the owner of more social media accounts than shirts. He is also an LGBTQ athlete activist who isn’t afraid to speak his mind when someone attacks the community. So when some anonymous hack used his image as part of a meme attempting to take down out and proud gay men everywhere, Dunn clapped back hard against the offender and left no doubt as to how disgusted he was. The meme in question included a picture of Dunn next to a heading reading “Gay People I Respect” with a list of insulting characteristics including “Acts like a normal person” and “Doesn’t force upon you the fact that they’re gay.” The meme is a prime example of the “one of the good ones” trope of bigotry where the bigot in question thinks he’s being magnanimous by complimenting a “respectable” gay man while denigrating literally the entire community. And Dunn was having none of it. He tweeted: “Don’t use my image for your internalised homophobia, don’t make assumptions on the kind of gay man I am or the kind of gay men I associate myself with. I’ll always support those those who are true to themselves and be who they truly are. I will always be your biggest advocate!”
Winners: The 8 Out Women who played the WNBA All-Star Game
Last Saturday’s WNBA All-Star Game ended up as a 129-126 win for Team A’ja Wilson over Team Elena Delle Donne. The game was also a look at the next generation of the 23-year-old league. The greatest stars of this era of women’s basketball such as Diana Taurasi, Candace Parker, Maya Moore, and Sue Bird weren’t in uniform. Six first-time All-Stars, including game MVP Erica Wheeler, were on the floor. Wheeler became the first undrafted player to be the All-Star Game MVP. Also on the hardwood was Jewell Loyd, who last month appeared alongside Brittney Griner, Sue Bird, Jordin Canada, Caster Semenyaand Chris Mosier in Nike’s “Be True” campaign. But even though Delle Donne’s team lost, the real winners were eight publicly out players in this year’s game, beginning with Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics, Griner and DeWanna Bonner of the Phoenix Mercury, Courtney Vandersloot of the Chicago Sky, Chelsea Gray of the Los Angeles Sparks, Natasha Howard of the Seattle Storm, Candice Dupree of the Indiana Fever and Vandersloot’s spouse, Allie Quigley also of the Chicago Sky. That’s one more than last year’s roster, and while there may have been other WNBA players who identify as LGBTQ, those were the only ones who are open and out, and Outsports policy is we do not name any athlete as out unless they themselves declare it in social media or to news media.
Winners: Natasha Cloud and Aleshia Ocasio
Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud made her engagement to the Chicago Bandits pro fastpitch player Aleshia Ocasio public on social media last Saturday. The photos posted on Instagram show the couple in a park, beginning with them snapping a picture together. Then Cloud gets down on one knee to propose to Ocasio. Cloud’s announcement comes just a couple of hours after the WNBA All-Star game wrapped up in Las Vegas where her Mystics teammates Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver took the Western Conference to a narrow 126-129 defeat. Cloud, 27, was not at the All-Star game herself, but Instagram stories show she proposed in Martin County, Fla., after Ocasio’s team was scheduled to compete that day against the Beijing Eagles. The softball game was postponed a day due to rain, but the weather didn’t stop Cloud’s proposal. Check out the Instagram post by clicking here.
Winner: Gay squash player Todd Harrity
Todd Harrity, an openly gay professional squash player, won the gold medal in men’s doubles with his partner Chris Hanson at the Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru. Harrity, 28, posted on Instagram: “Couldn’t be more proud to win a gold medal with @hansonsquash in men’s doubles down here at the Pan American Games.” Harrity and Hanson beat Canadians Shawn Delierre and Nick Sachvie 6-11, 11-5, 11-8 in the final. In the semifinals, the Americans beat Diego Elias and Alonso Escudero, who were playing before their home crowd. Harrity came out publicly in 2018, writing on Twitter: “I am gay, and I’m ready to live my life as an openly gay man. I have decided to come out because I am convinced that having everyone know this about me is the only way I can truly be content. I also think it is best for everyone around me, so that we can more fully understand each other.” The Princeton graduate became the first male pro squash player to come out, even more of a milestone since he was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. He was embraced by sports legends like Billie Jean King, while U.S. Squash president Kevin Klipstein praised Harrity’s “great character as a squash competitor.” Now, he’s a gold medalist.
Winners: Out athletes David Melly and Alex Johnson
David Melly fondly recalls his Cornell University track and field team as “our merry band of weirdos.” Alone as an openly gay athlete when he joined the cross country and track and field teams in 2011, Melly was pleased that in his senior season three of the five top runners identified as LGBT. It was also probably not coincidental that Cornell that year had the highest placing in a decade at Heps (Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Track & Field Championships). In a 2018 essay for the running website Citius Mag, Melly shared some insights into how more out LGBT athletes changed the nature of his Cornell team: “My straight teammates got a little cuddlier, a little sillier, and a lot more open about their vulnerabilities as a result of having teammates and friends who challenged their masculinity but who worked just as hard and shared the same goals. We fully embrace the mandate of our sport when we don’t just accept weirdos; we celebrate the weirdness in all of us.” Read his Being Out profile by clicking here.
Alex Johnson is a professional rock climber and a member of the USA Climbing Bouldering National Team. The 30-year-old, who has been climbing since 1997, told People Magazine she now has her sights set on Tokyo 2020. It will be the first Summer Olympic Games to include rock climbing as an event. She’s training to be one of the 100+ out athletes hoping to compete in next summer’s games. Johnson told People she is one of the few out LGBTQ professional climbers. She and her girlfriend, Bree, met in 2014, and they said their friendship blossomed into romance. Johnson called it “a crazy whirlwind.” She said she went public with their relationship to help a queer girl she was coaching who was being bullied. Johnson said she made a spur of the moment decision to show the girl she was not alone. “Helping just her feel better about herself [was] awesome,” Johnson said. “But I keep getting all these messages that are heartwarming.” “Doing it for that reason alone is enough,” she told the magazine.
That’s all for this week! We’ll bring you a fresh list of winners and losers next Saturday. Got a name we missed, or want to challenge our choices? Comment here or on Facebook or Instagram, tweet at us, message us via any social media, or just plain email us at email@example.com Thanks!