Phoenix Suns President Comes Out!

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    May 15, 2011 11:31 PM GMT
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=6553603

    Phoenix Suns president and CEO Rick Welts, in an effort to breach what he sees as the tiptoed-around topic of homosexuality in men's team sports, recently met with friends, associates and a newspaper reporter to reveal he is gay.

    Welts, believed to be the first man in a prominent position in men's sports who has declared his homosexuality, says he wants to now mentor other gay people who seek to pursue a career in sports, according to The New York Times.


    Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images
    Rick Welts talked to several friends and associates, including David Stern, before going public.
    "This is one of the last industries where the subject is off limits," Welts told the newspaper. "Nobody's comfortable in engaging in a conversation."

    According to the report, Welts talked separately to NBA commissioner David Stern, Suns guard Steve Nash, Hall of Famer Bill Russell and founding WNBA president Val Ackerman to discuss the message he wished to convey in making his sexual orientation public.

    Stern was not taken aback or even surprised by the conversation, though he did assume beforehand that Welts, whose 40-year NBA career began as a ball boy, had wanted to meet to discuss career advice, according to The Times.

    "What I didn't say at the time was: I think there's a good chance the world will find this unremarkable," Stern told The Times. "I don't know if I was confusing my thoughts with my hopes."

    Nash held a similar perspective.

    "Anyone who's not ready for this needs to catch up," Nash said. "He's doing anyone who's not ready for this a favor."

    Alvin Gentry, who has been the Suns' head coach for 2½ seasons after joining the team in 2004 as an assistant coach, complimented Welts, saying the fact he is gay is beside the point.

    "I had a feeling about it," Gentry told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard when asked if he knew Welts was gay. "To me, what does it matter? I know he's great at his job; he's very organized and he does a brilliant job. To me, [his sexuality] is irrelevant.

    "I'm happy for Rick because I think it takes a ton of weight off his shoulders," Gentry added. "I'm glad for him because it puts him in a more relaxed state. Do I look at him any differently or judge him any differently? Not in a million years. I've dealt with Rick for the last seven years and he's a great CEO and a great person.''
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    May 15, 2011 11:37 PM GMT
    I think this is great- mainly because I'm a basketball fanatic and would love to see some more tolerance in the sport but also because that obviously took a lot of courage.

    Props to him!
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    May 15, 2011 11:56 PM GMT
    running11 saidProps to him!
    +1
  • MuscleComeBac...

    Posts: 2376

    May 15, 2011 11:58 PM GMT
    I have a new hero. Several, in fact.
    For someone who grew up in the 60's and 70's and came out at age 18 in 1978, this feels like a LONG time coming. As an NBA fan (read, addict) this is amazing.
    I'm not sure exactly what it changes, perhaps nothing, but on a personal level, I find this man very brave and modeling something profoundly important.
    As a man, as a gay man, as a basketball fan, I could not be more proud right now. Wow.
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    May 16, 2011 12:06 AM GMT
    MuscleComeBack saidI have a new hero. Several, in fact.
    For someone who grew up in the 60's and 70's and came out at age 18 in 1978, this feels like a LONG time coming. As an NBA fan (read, addict) this is amazing.
    I'm not sure exactly what it changes, perhaps nothing, but on a personal level, I find this man very brave and modeling something profoundly important.
    As a man, as a gay man, as a basketball fan, I could not be more proud right now. Wow.


    Amen! I couldn't have said it better myself... except I didn't grow up in the 60's lol
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    May 16, 2011 12:06 AM GMT
    mayBbignow saidDidnt someone else just come out today?


    Umm... the english boy band guy possibly? But honestly thats a little expected if you ask me... a gay person in the arts. However a gay person coming out in sports i think can change more minds.
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    May 16, 2011 12:11 AM GMT
    This guys is amazing.

    But how did he survive Arnie's death? That is absolutely horrible. I don't think I could separate my private life from my job enough to only take two days off. Its also horrible that another relationship couldn't survive after a 14 year run because of his job.
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    May 16, 2011 12:16 AM GMT
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/16/sports/basketball/nba-executive-says-he-is-gay.html?_r=1&src=ISMR_HP_LO_MST_FB
  • eddieross69

    Posts: 841

    May 16, 2011 12:44 AM GMT
    Rick Welts
    rickwelts.jpg
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    May 16, 2011 12:45 AM GMT
    eddieross69 saidRick Welts
    rickwelts.jpg


    MINE!
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    May 16, 2011 1:33 AM GMT
    "Stern was not taken aback or even surprised by the conversation, though he did assume beforehand that Welts, whose 40-year NBA career began as a ball boy, had wanted to meet to discuss career advice, according to The Times."

    snickering....icon_lol.gif
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    May 16, 2011 2:01 AM GMT
    I work with a guy who was an NHL referee. That's hockey. The biggest manly sport there is, next to Ultimate Fighting. He knows I'm gay. He's made some comments in my presence about him being only man in the room. But, he accepts that I'm an equal human being with equal human rights.

    There's a huge gay story just under the surface in the hockey world. They're actually not hiding it, these guys. St8 people just don't want to accept what they're seeing, so they think it's something else.
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    May 16, 2011 2:10 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    running11 saidProps to him!
    +1

    +2
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    May 16, 2011 2:18 AM GMT
    During the Bulls/Heat game there was a commercial with Grant Hill and Jared Dudley saying that using the word gay to mean dumb or stupid is not cool. It was very creative and quite shocking, but much appreciated. Thanks Rick...and to some extent KOBE!

    I couldn't find the whole commercial, but the snippet is below.

    http://dmmx2.nba.com:8080/nbae/footage/footage_glsen_psa_1500.wmv
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    May 16, 2011 2:19 AM GMT
    slimtoned1 saidDuring the Bulls/Heat game there was a commercial with Grant Hill and Jared Dudley saying that using the word gay to mean dumb or stupid is not cool. It was very creative and quite shocking, but much appreciated. Thanks Rick...and to some extent KOBE!


    I saw that- I thought that was great! Especially since it came from players, right after all this has happened icon_smile.gif
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    May 16, 2011 7:37 AM GMT
    slimtoned1 saidDuring the Bulls/Heat game there was a commercial with Grant Hill and Jared Dudley saying that using the word gay to mean dumb or stupid is not cool. It was very creative and quite shocking, but much appreciated. Thanks Rick...and to some extent KOBE!

    I couldn't find the whole commercial, but the snippet is below.

    http://dmmx2.nba.com:8080/nbae/footage/footage_glsen_psa_1500.wmv


    you mean this one? ;D

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    May 16, 2011 7:41 AM GMT
    sxydrkhair saidGO PHX SUNS!
    phoenix-suns-logo.jpg


    that is one flaming ball! heehee
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    May 16, 2011 7:41 AM GMT
    Yay! Phoenix AZ
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    May 16, 2011 9:18 AM GMT
    icon_eek.gif
  • Vaughn

    Posts: 1880

    May 16, 2011 9:32 AM GMT
    And the world keep turning.