It’s always nice to see highly selective colleges highlighting their LGBT students. We especially love it when colleges highlight their LGBT student-athletes, as Colby College did recently. As marriage equality is decided upon by the United States Supreme Court, much progress has been made of late in the world of gays in sports. Robbie Rogers, a professional soccer player in England who originally hails from California, recently came out, though he simultaneously announced his retirement from the sport. A rumor circulated recently that five NFL players would all come out together this summer so that nobody would have to endure the treatment that Jackie Robinson endured in his day. Whether or not that rumor proves to be true awaits to be seen.
In the major American professional sports of baseball, football, basketball, and hockey, no player has been openly gay while competing. Some have come out after their playing careers have ended (i.e., John Amaechi of the Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz, Esera Tuaolo of the Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers, and Jacksonville Jaguars, and Billy Bean of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, and San Diego Padres — not Billy Beane of “Moneyball” fame). But these professional sports await an openly gay athlete.
That’s why Colby College writing proudly about its out collegiate athletes is so important and why they should be saluted for their gesture. They’ve brought attention to a swimmer, a squash player, a rower, and a sprinter who all compete hard for Colby and who all just happen to be members of the LGBT community. As the campaign goes, if you can play, you can play.