It’s been quite a year for out LGBTQ athletes, with a record number competing in the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics, as well as male professional athletes Carl Nassib, Luke Prokop and Bryan Ruby coming out publicly.
This is the first time there will be an athlete from North America playing in a professional league in one of the big five men’s American sports: baseball, basketball, football, hockey and soccer. Though one of them — Derrick Gordon — is playing overseas. Four athletes from the United States join Canadian Prokop in breaking down barriers for gay and bisexual athletes in big-time sports.
It’s the first time this has happened. There have been various pro athletes to come out publicly before in these most-popular sports in America, including Jason Collins, Robbie Rogers and others. In addition, there have been out gay athletes like Andrew Goldstein playing in other sports like lacrosse.
The simultaneous participation of these men in their respective sports sends a powerful message about just how far sports have come, as each of them reports widespread acceptance.
Here are the five athletes competing in the big five American sports, with one playing overseas in Europe.
Carl Nassib, football
Nassib came out publicly during Pride Month and just restructured his contract with the Las Vegas Raiders that likely means he’ll be with the team through next season.
Collin Martin, soccer
Martin played for MLS’ Minnesota United F.C. when he came out publicly in 2019. Now he takes the pitch for the San Diego Loyal.
Luke Prokop, hockey
Prokop called the front office of the Nashville Predators to let them know he’s gay, then with their support he came out to the world. He’s under contract with the Predators and currently plays with the Calgary Hitmen.
Derrick Gordon, basketball
Gordon first played professionally for Apollon Limassol in Cyprus. For the 2021 season he’ll suit up for for Römerstrom Gladiators Trier in Germany, near the border with Luxembourg.
Bryan Ruby, baseball
Ruby has played professional baseball in the United States and other countries, coming out publicly this season with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in Oregon.