As much of the country re-opens this weekend and next week, and major sports leagues prepare to announce if, or how, they’ll hold this year’s postponed competitions, we cannot ignore the fact the coronavirus pandemic is still upon us. Thousands of people are still getting sick and dying. If nothing else, I hope my weekly look at the week that was will serve as a distraction from all the disturbing headlines and the clashes between those who want to end isolation and those who worry this situation will only get worse.

This week, Outsports joined SB Nation and our sister sports sites in a creative exercise, exploring alternative realities for “What If Week.” So this week’s list follows this theme, starting with our “What If” entries. Enjoy this trip into the world that might have been!

What if Queen didn’t exist to rock you?

In an alternate timeline, this is Farrokh Bulsara.

As part of ‘What If? Week,’ Outsports contributor and “3 Strikes You’re Out” podcast host Ken Schultz imagines what sports would sound like if Freddie Mercury & company weren’t part of the soundtrack.

What if the Rams didn’t release Michael Sam?

A series of events led to the Rams releasing Michael Sam. But Outsports co-founder Cyd Zeigler says, if he’d stuck around for just one season, the last six years would have been different.

What if Jerry Smith came out after winning Super Bowl VII?

His clutch catches defeated the undefeated Miami Dolphins, but contributor and The Trans Sporter Room podcast co-host Karleigh Webb asks: could they defeat homophobia?

What if WWE openly acknowledged its LGBTQ talent on its TV programming?

‘What If? Week’ rolls on with our Brian Bell, host of the Outsports podcast “LGBT In The Ring,” asking what the WWE would look like if it actually acknowledged LGBTQ identities to its largest audiences.

What if sports media didn’t treat sexuality as a ‘distraction?’

Outsports deputy managing editor Alex Reimer, host of the Outports podcast, “The Sports Kiki,” imagines a world in which sexual orientation or gender identity is treated as no big deal in major pro sports leagues.

What if the tuck rule had never been applied against the Raiders?

If the Patriots had lost the infamous Snow Bowl in the 2001 season, Outsports co-founder Jim Buzinski postulates that a ripple effect would have been felt around the NFL

What if the only athletes allowed to compete are LGBTQ?

Managing editor Dawn Ennis here! I kicked off this theme week with a plea: Let cis and straight athletes compete, too! Imagine a world in which only gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer athletes were allowed to compete. Imagine a movement, to allow for the inclusion of cisgender and heterosexual athletes, to compete against us. Outsports reader, YouTube personality (and my BFF) Maia Monet suggested that we’d have to require cishet athletes to undergo genital examinations, verifying vasectomies, tube-ties and their “real” gender. After all, we need to put our safety first. It’s not anti-straight… it’s pro-LGBTQ.

What if Eric Dickerson apologized for using an effeminate voice and calling new Rams uniforms ‘soft’?

‘Soft,’ “Ram it up,’ ‘Lambs” are among the terms Eric Dickerson used to criticize the Rams uniforms. What if he didn’t, or at least said he realized how homophobic his remarks were?

What if Colorado’s Colin Wilson didn’t have to clarify remarks about NHL support of Pride Tape?

Colin Wilson #22 of the Colorado Avalanche shoots on goal against the San Jose Sharks during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 26, 2019 in San Jose, Calif.

The Avalanche center emphasized that he supports and welcomes LGBTQ inclusion in the NHL, and so do his teammates. What if people didn’t misinterpret his comments, accuse him and the team of being homophobes, or at least did what we did: ask him to clarify?

What if Joe Budden didn’t tweet his ignorant remark, and women didn’t have to stick up for their league

2018 MVP Breanna Stewart sent a simple but sharp reminder when the podcaster overlooked the WNBA. What if Budden and the men who made fools of themselves actually respected the WNBA and its amazing players?

What if Robbie Manson could compete this year and didn’t have to wait for the 2021 Summer Olympics?

Robbie Manson talked with Outsports co-founder Cyd Zeigler on his “Five Rings To Rule Them All” Outsports podcast, about meeting a gay athlete at the 2012 Olympics and the impact that had on him. What if the pandemic never happened, and Manson and other Olympians could compete this summer?

What if this athlete’s goal to reach the top as an openly gay professional tennis player wasn’t also a battle against racism?

Jeremy Sonkin

Jeremy Sonkin has longed battled homophobia in tennis. A renewed love of the sport has led him to strive for success in the 35 and over professional circuit. What if racism didn’t make that so much harder?

What if mainstream media also celebrated out boxer Orlando Cruz?

The long-running boxing series touched on the impact of Cruz’s historic coming out and success on Boxeo Telemundo. And that’s great, but what if ABC Sports, CBS Sports, ESPN, NBC Sports, and HBO’s Real Sports also paid tribute to this history-making boxer?

What if this city didn’t have to scramble to protect the privacy of transgender students in online classrooms?

Philadelphia’s school board met Thursday night to discuss expanding its policy on transgender inclusion in school sports to protect identities in online classrooms. What if someone made sure to fix a glitch in Google Classroom, before it exposed the birth names of trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming students, and caused them trauma?

What if this gay college track star didn’t have to struggle and neither did so many LGBT athletes?

Trae’ Robinson, left, with his boyfriend, Corey, is a sprinter on the track and field team at St. Joseph’s University.

Proud and openly gay, Trae’ Robinson has posted a candid YouTube video detailing his struggles as a Division 1 athlete. What if he didn’t have struggles and instead could post videos about how he was universally embraced and accepted by everyone?

What if the MLB kept every minor league team in existence and embraced their new standards for celebrating Pride?

With Pride Nights on the schedule in 81 cities, Minor League Baseball demonstrates why every team is essential to its community. What if the MLB realized this and didn’t plan to disband any of the teams?

What if a Christian hate group was barred from practicing law for consistently seeking to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans?

The Alliance Defending Freedom’s Christiana Holcomb, legal counsel at a news conference announcing its federal civil rights lawsuit on Feb. 12, 2020.

Lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom — labeled an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for repeatedly attacking the rights of LGBTQ people in courtrooms all across the country — are so incensed that they cannot call two trans girls “male” in a federal civil rights lawsuit, that they have demanded the judge in their case recuse himself. What if the American Bar Association looked at ADF’s record and took away its license to practice law in all 50 states? We can dream, can’t we?

What if the UK’s first LGBT+ soccer team to formally partner with a pro club wasn’t the first and there were no anti-gay attitudes?

Charlton Invicta, who formally partnered with Charlton Athletic in 2017, is part of the LGBT+ London Unity League. What if this was commonplace in the United Kingdom, that clubs welcomed openly LGBTQ players, and so did their fans?

What if this gay sports reporter didn’t need her friends to ‘shut down’ homophobia at her school radio station?

Lauren Rosenberg, who is the first out LGBTQ sports reporter at the University of Missouri’s campus radio station on the Columbia campus, explains how her friends helped her stand up to homophobia. What if the homophobes at the radio station were barred from broadcasting, or better yet, weren’t homophobic at all?

What if this gay rugby player and student president didn’t have to fight for students and the LGBTQ community during the pandemic?

Over at the University of Missouri Kansas City campus, Justice Horn is advocating for assistance to help students hurt by the coronavirus shutdown. What if he didn’t have to, and Mizzou students were told homophobes were not welcome at the university?

What if this gay hockey player didn’t have to call the NHL hypocritical for condemning Brendan Leipsic without changing culture?

Brock McGillis says Brendan Leipsic will be nothing more than a fall guy if the league doesn’t begin to more seriously educate players on the power of their speech. What if the NHL was pro-active and took homophobia so seriously that they made it part of every team’s contract with players: make homophobic statements, and you’ll be benched.

What if trans advocate Aiden Mann was celebrated in mainstream media as the trans man behind that viral dog video?

Aiden Mann and Plum

On this week’s episode of Randy Boose’s “Level Playing Field Podcast,” Aiden Mann talks about his transition, and decision to be an outspoken trans voice. What if all the reports about his inspiring TikTok video mentioned the fact that he’s transgender?

What if Outsports Pride 2020 didn’t go “virtual” with entertainment and conversation?

Outsports Pride will be virtual this year, with a variety hour, webinars and community chats with sports heroes. Given the pandemic, the event might have been canceled outright, but your friends at Outsports and our parent company Vox, in particular co-founder Cyd Zeigler, worked hard to bring you this incredible alternative. This way, everyone’s health is safeguarded!

What if you win Outsports Trivia Night on May 21?

We will tell you how great you are, and your name will appear in a story on! So, how much do you know about LGBTQ professional athletes and Olympians? Bring it!

What if you don’t watch Outsports’ conversation about building inclusion with your team and school?

We hosted a live conversation about building LGBTQ inclusion in your athletics department. If you don’t watch, you’ll be missing out, big-time! Here’s the video, right here:

That’s all for this week! I’ll bring you a fresh list of winners and losers next Saturday, at the end of our “Underdog” theme week. Got a name I missed, or want to challenge my choices? Comment here or on Facebook or Instagram, tweet at us, message me via any social media, or just plain email me at [email protected] Thanks!

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