Gays in Sports

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photoOn November 8, 1991, basketball great Ervin "Magic" Johnson announced he was infected with the HIV virus. In 1993, tennis legend Arthur Ashe died of AIDS. In both cases, the rumor mill ran wild with questions about the sexual preferences of both men.

The participation of gays in sports is a silent reality, with a few notable exceptions. Currently, there are no openly gay professional athletes in the four major American sports. Several retired players have "come out" after retirement.

A recent survey reveals that Americans have mixed attitudes about gays in sports. 86 percent of respondents agreed that it's okay for male athletes to participate in sports, even if they're openly gay. However, nearly a quarter of those interviewed agreed that having an openly gay player hurts the entire team.

Hear a discussion on Americans' changing attitudes toward openly gay athletes.


Jon Wertheim, senior writer for Sports Illustrated magazine;
Dave Kopay, former NFL running back, the first professional athlete to say he is gay

Eric Anderson, professor of sociology at SUNY Stonybrook, author of "In the Game: Gay Athletes and the Cult of Masculinity"

Nora Beck, professor at Lewis and Clark College, advisor to the NCAA on gay and lesbian issues

Billy Bean, played Major League Baseball from 1987-1995, came out publicly in 1999.

This program aired on April 22, 2005.


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