Category Archive : Sports

The Fallon Fox Story: Movie about the MMA trailblazer is in development

Coming Attraction: The life and rise of MMA fighter and pioneering trans athlete Fallon Fox is under development as a motion pictureMark Gordon Pictures, along with the creative team behind the acclaimed documentary “Man Made,” plans to tell the transgender pioneer’s story. The story of trailblazing MMA fighter and Outsports Triumph Award winner Fallon Fox may be coming to a cineplex near you. Mark Gordon Pictures announced that its firm has a biopic project on the pioneering transgender athlete under development.
According to the entertainment industry journal Deadline, Fox will serve as a consultant to the project with Mark Gordon as producer. Gordon’s previous producing credits include the popular TV shows Grey’s Anatomy and Criminal Minds and the box office hit that won five Academy Awards, Saving Private Ryan.
Fox shared the news on her social media.

Hey y’all! I feel honored to be able to tell you all that there is a movie in development by Mark Gordon Pictures chronicling my life! https://t.co/gBONqLsW1B— Fallon Fox (@FallonFox) April 21, 2021

For Fox, this is the next bold step in a sporting life where bold steps have been her calling card. Since coming out publicly in 2013, she’s taken a great deal of criticism and vitriol, but also given a great deal in terms of advocacy and education, in addition to being a fierce competitor in an MMA octagon.
“I’m really happy that this is in development,” Fox told Outsports. She added that this project takes on added importance in a time where more than 30 states are considering or have enacted legislation to ban transgender women and girls from competitive interscholastic and intercollegiate sports.
“This story needs to be told especially right now with what’s going on with all of the anti trans legislation,” Fox said. “I also think that they have an outstanding writing team including trans representation working on this. So, this should be a great film.”
The writing team Fox refers to will be the formidable husband-wife writing team of T Cooper, the director-producer of the critically acclaimed documentary Man Made who also has numerous television writing credits to his name, and journalist-author Allison Glock-Cooper.

So stoked to be writing this with @RealTCooper. LFG! @FallonFox ️‍⚧️ https://t.co/4Abd4Jt6dJ— Allison Glock (@AllisonGlock) April 21, 2021

“As transgender/LGBTQIA writers and creators, we know in our bones the inherent value in and necessity of telling stories from the inside out, rather than from the outside looking in,” said the couple in a joint statement to Deadline. “We’re thrilled to be teaming with Mark Gordon Pictures to help bring Fallon’s undeniably powerful and relevant story to the screen.”
Another member of the producing team, Bonnie-Chance Roberts, concurred. “Fallon Fox is a remarkable woman and athlete who has withstood and achieved so much in her life and whose story is far too little known,” Roberts told Deadline. “She is a universal, living icon of strength and persistence.”
We could not agree more!
Follow Fallon Fox on Instagram at @fallon_fox and on Twitter at @fallonfox Outsports – All Posts Read More

Poll finds vast majority of Americans oppose anti-transgender athlete laws

A scene from a 2020 rally in support of transgender student athletes at the Idaho state capitol. | Katherine Jones/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesMost Democrats — and Republicans — surveyed said they oppose trans athlete bans. But the vast majority of GOP respondents said they remain against trans athletes competing according to their gender identity. Over the past few months, it’s felt as though the LGBTQ community has had to endure a tsunami of new anti-trans laws throughout the country. But thanks to a recent public opinion survey, there’s one thing that every lawmaker who supports such draconian legislation needs to realize:
They’re going against the wishes of the vast majority of the American people — across the ideological spectrum.
According to a poll from PBS Newshour, NPR, and Marist College, 66-percent, or “two-thirds of Americans are against laws that would limit transgender rights.”
Which would be encouraging news as it is. But this story gets really interesting in the poll’s demographic breakdown. For example, in answer to the question, “Do you support or oppose legislation that would prohibit transgender student athletes from joining sports teams that match their identity,” 69-percent of Democrats responded, “Oppose.”
That’s about as expected. Here’s the shocker: that number is almost matched by the 66-percent of Republicans who also answered “Oppose.” Quick, somebody tell the politicians in Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Alabama, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee…
Photo by Cory Clark/NurPhoto via Getty Images
From those numbers, it seems as though anti-trans legislators are going against the wishes of their constituencies, even in the reddest of red states. However, the poll also includes another question that muddies the waters a bit.
When asked if high school athletes should be allowed to compete on teams that match their gender identity, 75-percent of Democrats answered “Yes.” That pretty lines up with the previous question.
However, over 80-percent of Republicans answered “No.” In other words, the majority of GOP respondents polled don’t believe states should ban trans athletes with new laws… but they still remain opposed to policies that allow trans athletes to compete according to their gender identity, such as is the case in Connecticut.
The sheer number of logical hurdles you have to leap to get to those two answers is practically Olympian. Ironically, if the Olympics added 400-meter logical hurdles as an event, these respondents would be breaking records like Caitlyn Jenner.
Outsports reached out to Marist College in an attempt to get clarification regarding this seeming incongruity. Marist Poll director Barbara L. Carvalho explained the logic underlying the two responses, noting that “Americans, as a whole, have little appetite for laws that single out trans student athletes. There is in fact a consensus among Americans for the Equality Act and significant opposition to state laws that would ban trans athletes from team play.”
Concerning the 80-percent of Republicans who oppose trans athletes being allowed to compete according to their gender identity, Carvalho concluded, “The second group of questions places the issue in a more personal setting, and there we see a divide. It’s also on these questions that we see differences between people who know someone who is transgender and those who don’t.”
Regardless of this wave of personal opposition, it’s still worth focusing on the lede: two-thirds of Americans oppose legalized discrimination against the transgender community. As we’re well aware, there’s a real human cost to state governments passing anti-trans legislation in spite of the sizable majority who oppose it, as out transgender college coxswain Eric Tannehill recently wrote in a Los Angeles Blade editorial:
“Republicans have decided that the most important thing to do in the middle of a pandemic is to take away life-saving treatment from children and ban them from playing sports. This has been painful for me. It’s like watching a murder in slow motion. I see what they’re doing and recognize that it’s going to get people killed and there’s nothing I can do but just watch as they target kids like me with a smile on their face and a Bible in hand.”
That’s why it’s so important to keep up the fight against legislative discrimination. Thousands of lives are at stake — and the vast majority of our fellow Americans seem to understand this. We have to continue pushing back until the people in power understand it too. Outsports – All Posts Read More

UFC’s silence on Florida’s anti-trans sports bills is ‘deafening’

UFC “We Are All Fighters” Pride-themed design | UFC/TwitterWith UFC 261 set to take place in Florida on Saturday in the shadow of the state’s push for anti-trans sports bills, the promotion remains quiet on the issue. The Ultimate Fighting Championship is set to host its first pay-per-view event with fans in attendance in over a year, UFC 261, this Saturday. The event will emanate from the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., partially due to the Florida state government’s rescinding of policies implemented during the coronavirus pandemic limiting in-person gatherings and live attendance at public events.
The fact that a sellout crowd will be packed into an indoor arena while the state averages over 6,000 daily Covid-19 cases is disheartening to say the least. The promotion has admittedly been one of the better major sports organizations at implementing stringent Covid-19 testing protocols during the pandemic, but implementing similar measures for fans feels untenable. The addition of an “Assumption of Risk” clause to tickets to UFC 261 that specifically cites attendees’ risk of contracting Covid-19 by attending the event speaks to such.
But the UFC’s return to Florida also coincides with the state government’s push to implement discriminatory laws that would ban trans girls and women from competing in sports consistent with their gender identity. A bill that passed through the Florida House last week, HB 1475, drew heightened criticism for the inclusion of a provision that would allow a challenge to a student-athlete’s gender identity to be resolved by an examination of their “reproductive anatomy.”
Though the Florida Senate amended its version of the bill, SB 2012, to remove that language and reports now say it is unlikely to be put to a vote before the state’s legislative session ends on April 30, the silence of major sports organizations regarding such legislation rings incredibly loud. Especially as similar bills have been introduced in more than 30 states, plenty of which are home to professional sports teams.
The UFC’s big return to events with live crowds this weekend has placed it in the spotlight regarding that collective silence. In a video on his personal YouTube channel, Bloody Elbow’s Trent Reinsmith highlighted the UFC’s turning a blind eye to the trans-exclusionary bills while the company promotes itself as a proponent of LGBTQ inclusion.

“This is not going to stop the UFC from going to Florida or any state that has a law like this. And the reason is because the UFC doesn’t really give a shit about this. It pays lip service to it during Pride month. They’ll have their rainbow shirts and they’ll act like they give a shit, but if you ask them … if they’re going to do anything about this bill, if they’re going to say ‘we’re not going to go to a state that has an anti-LGBTQ, anti-trans law. We’re not going to go there because it doesn’t represent our morals.’ Well, c’mon now. We know the UFC doesn’t have many morals whatsoever. The silence on this, because it just happened, is incredible. It’s deafening.”
The “rainbow shirts” Reinsmith refers to in the video are Pride-themed shirts emblazoned with the phrase “We are all fighters” in rainbow colors that the UFC has sold since 2016 with the proceeds benefitting LGBTQ organizations. The initiative is commendable, but flies in the face of its continued relationships with anti-LGBTQ governmental bodies in the United Arab Emirates and Chechnya.
But even its pro-LGBTQ optics have been exclusionary to trans populations. The UFC features multiple out fighters within its women’s division, including UFC double champion Amanda Nunes and Jessica Andrade, who will challenge UFC Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 261. But prominent figures within the organization haven’t been as welcoming to trans fighters of any gender identity.
UFC president Dana White, UFC announcer Joe Rogan and former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey made incredibly transphobic comments toward former MMA fighter Fallon Fox in 2013. Rogan has come under fire again recently for transphobic comments on his popular Spotify-exclusive podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.

In honor of PRIDE month, the UFC will be offering its “We Are All Fighters” t-shirts with 100% of the profits benefitting @GLAAD. Visit https://t.co/2DqWrpDNhZ to get your shirts today! ️‍ #WeAreAllFighters #PrideMonth pic.twitter.com/bwri2HxvqO— UFC (@ufc) June 6, 2019

According to Bloody Elbow, Rogan’s recent comments came as Spotify employees demanded the removal of select episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience from the platform and increased editorial oversight of the podcast going forward. Rogan and Spotify reportedly agreed to the deletion of several episodes. Fox herself spoke out yet again, calling on Spotify to cancel Rogan’s podcast. “Joe Rogan is being transphobic yet again. He has had more transphobic episodes than you can shake a stick at. Spotify needs to cancel his show already,” Fox said in a Facebook post.
All of this amounts to yet another cultural moment that the UFC expectedly hasn’t met. The promotion is perfectly fine exploiting and profiting off LGBTQ bodies and paying the LGBTQ community lip service when it is good P.R., but truly taking a stand against trans-exclusionary ideation and legislation isn’t something anyone will find inside the octagon.
The UFC will have another opportunity to address this matter next month when it runs its next pay-per-view event, UFC 262, in Texas, another state that is currently debating bills targeting trans youth and athletes. Maybe the message “we are all fighters” will finally sink in. Outsports – All Posts Read More

These 2 gay NWSL executives are getting married

We love to see a happy couple! Jen Fusci and Amanda Zanghi both work for the Kansas City NWSL. They recently announced their engagement! We love when two best friends are getting married. Kansas City NWSL executives Jen Fusci and Amanda Zanghi announced their engagement recently, breaking the news on Twitter.
“Today was pretty perfect … I get to marry my best friend y’all,” Fusci wrote.
Fusci is the Vice President of Ticket Sales & Service at KC NWSL, and Zanghi works as the team’s Director of Partnerships & Activation.
While NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird said last year LGBTQ pride is “foundational” to the league, it hasn’t always been that way, writes Meg Linehan of The Athletic. As an upstart league, the NWSL used to shy away from a formal Pride month. But that is no longer the case. All eight teams celebrated Pride in some fashion last season.
Fusci says they’ve received nothing but love from the NWSL community.
“It’s been incredible!,” she said. “We feel so fortunate to have so much love and support.”

Today was pretty perfect … I get to marry my best friend y’all ✨ pic.twitter.com/EdWaRL3Njt— Jen Fusci (@Fusci28) April 19, 2021

Love must be in the air around the NWSL, because two of the league’s most well-known super fans recently got married as well. The women behind “Gal Pal Sports,” Lesley Ryder and Emily Anderson, shared their big scoop last weekend.
“The support has been absolutely lovely and overwhelming in the best way,” they said in a Twitter DM. “We really didn’t expect the news to go beyond our circle of friends, but it was a nice pocket of positivity to live in for a little bit.”

There weren’t any NWSL games on Saturday, so we figured we’d get married. pic.twitter.com/qxGtqe2Q4T— Gal Pal Sports (@GalPalSports) April 18, 2021

It’s always great when LGBTQ people so openly identify with their sports fandom, and their favorite leagues. As we know, it’s still relatively new for LGBTQ folks to be embraced in these spaces. Look no further than the NWHL, and how far it’s come over the last handful of years.
These two couples are leading the way for a more inclusive future in women’s soccer, one euphoric photograph at a time. Outsports – All Posts Read More

Gay college softball player navigates an accepting team and silent family

Emma Hoffart is head captain of the softball team at Missouri Western State University.‘College has been my escape, somewhere I can be truly and unapologetically myself,’ Emma Hoffart says. I wish I had one of those inspiring coming out stories where I was courageous and authentically myself, but that’s not exactly how it went down for me.
My first LGBTQ+ experience was a bit of a cliché, but in a romantic kind of way. My senior year of high school in suburban Omaha, Nebraska, I fell in love with my best friend who also happened to be my teammate. We were a pitcher-catcher duo on the field and a completely closeted couple off. We dated in absolute secret for just over a year, disguising ourselves as “best friends” and nothing more.
Living that lie for as long as we did was the most emotionally exhausting thing I have ever done. I had a constant fear of someone finding out and them telling others. But the only thing scarier than that was the thought of having that conversation with my parents and the rest of my family.
As time went on, we began sharing our secret with more and more of our trusted friends until we were “out” to almost everyone except our families. In October 2017, just months into my freshman year of college, my luck finally ran out.
Emma Hoffart shows her pride.My mom had learned my secret before I got the chance to tell her myself. I happened to be home from college for the weekend, which meant it was time for that brutal conversation. A year’s worth of built-up emotion came pouring out of me and all I remember is sobbing through the entire conversation to the point where I could barely get any words out.
My mom was in shock and comforted me in the best way she knew how. She struggled coming to terms with the fact that I am a lesbian and she had concerns just like any parent would. But the way my family is regarding my sexuality is where it gets tricky and it’s honestly hard to find the words to describe it.
The way I see it, there are two extremes to the “coming out” spectrum. There’s the horrible end of it where LGBTQ+ people are completely disowned by their parents and on the other end there are the parents who embrace their children’s sexuality with love and acceptance. My story lies somewhere in between.
I grew up in the suburbs of Omaha, with a very conservative and Catholic family. All my life I had been exposed to passive-aggressive homophobia. I was always hearing judgmental comments and offensive jokes towards members of the LGBTQ+ community coming from my family and friends.
The thing about my family that’s strange is the fact that I know they all are aware that I am a lesbian, yet it has somehow become this subject that is never to be spoken of. Since that dreadful night with my mom we’ve had maybe two partial conversations about my sexuality and there have zero conversations with my father. My family’s love for me has not changed and they treat me the same as they used to other than the fact that they avoid the topic of my love life like it’s the plague.
Missouri Western State University
Emma Hoffart at the plate.College has been my escape, somewhere I can be truly and unapologetically myself. I have been out since the day I got to Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph’s and I have been accepted with open arms by my coaches, my teammates and fellow athletes on campus. I am so lucky to attend a university that embraces diversity and makes everyone feel welcome.
I fully believe that one day when my family sees me genuinely happy with the love of my life, they will be able to celebrate that with me. In my situation it just takes time, and I am willing to wait for them to come to terms with it on their own.
At the end of the day, I am very blessed to have a family who loves me because I am reminded all the time of how much worse it could be by stories of other LGBTQ+ kids. But I will always be an advocate for those who are stuck in the middle like me and feel like they don’t deserve to be hurt by their family’s silence because of how much worse it could be.
Emma Hoffart, 22, will be graduating from Missouri Western State University with a master’s in general business. She serves as the head captain on the softball team and will be working at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. She can be reached by email (emmahoffart@gmail.com), Twitter or Instagram.
Story editor: Jim Buzinski
If you are an out LGBTQ person in sports and want to tell your story, email Jim (kandreeky@gmail.com)
Check out our archive of coming out stories.
If you’re an LGBTQ person in sports looking to connect with others in the community, head over to GO! Space to meet and interact with other LGBTQ athletes, or to Equality Coaching Alliance to find other coaches, administrators and other non-athletes in sports. Outsports – All Posts Read More

Gay basketball player goes from Christian college to Fire Island

Jallen Messersmith first stepped foot onto Fire Island in 2013, and instantly fell in love. | Photo providedJallen Messersmith was once told to remove the Pride flag from his dorm room. Now, he waves it all summer long on Fire Island. Jallen Messersmith’s journey of self-discovery begins like most gay coming-of-age stories: with a message on a dating app. Sitting in study hall on the campus of his small Catholic college, a stranger pinged him on Scruff.
After some back-and-forth, the person on the other side of the screen asked if Messersmith ever heard of Fire Island, and if not, would he consider coming down for a summer internship?
Messersmith didn’t need much convincing. There weren’t many other openly gay people at Benedictine College, or the surrounding town, Atchison, Kansas. The idea of living amongst his own was tantalizing.
He was a new person once he did.
“I went to Fire Island for that summer between my junior and senior year, and came back and was like, ‘I’m a homosexual, fuck the rest of this. I love this. I’m going to do whatever I want to do,’” Messersmith told me on this week’s edition of the Outsports podcast, The Sports Kiki. “It ended up being one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
When Messersmith first came out, his identity was seeped in sports. The 6-foot-8 forward won Defensive Player of the Year two seasons in a row and was ranked in the top 3 in shot blocking nationwide for three years. For the first time in four decades, Benedictine College won the Heart of America Athletic Conference in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Messersmith dedicated his life to basketball growing up, burying his angst on the hardwood. His parents home-schooled him, because he was bullied so badly.
Words of acceptance were hard to come by in the Mormon church, or school hallways. Even in college, Messersmith encountered resistance from school administrators. Benedictine College’s president once ordered him to take down the Pride flag from his room, calling it “ugly.”
But that was post-Fire Island. After spending a summer with confident and fulfilled gay men from different generations, Messersmith knew he didn’t have to be proud in silence. He told a friend about the incident for an article in the school paper, and within 12 hours, he received an apology email from the president.
Few things are more dangerous than an empowered gay. The sudden death of a teammate showed Messersmith that life is too short to spend in hiding.
“That shook me to my core,” he said. “It made me realize I needed to be my true self.”
Photo provided
Messersmith has found a community of lifelong friends on Fire Island.Messersmith remembers the moment he fell in love with Fire Island. It happened during a game of beach volleyball, with many of his newfound friends. For the first time, he realized sports didn’t have to be a hyper-masculine, or even super serious activity.
He was more than happy to turn in his basketball shorts for a Speedo.
“I think it was at that net that I started to realize like, ‘Oh, these people are just here to have fun and really connect. And there aren’t any strings attached to this,’” Messersmith said. “‘I don’t need to be the stereotypical jock here. I can be whoever I want to be and show up to this court, and people will support that.’”
Today, Messersmith lives in New York City and spends his summers on Fire Island. There is a lot of volleyball, and plenty of shenanigans. With COVID-19 restrictions loosening up, Messersmith can’t wait to reconnect with his extended family — and get back to a drag bar.
He’s not in Kansas, anymore.
“That first summer in Fire Island, it really did change my perspective on a lot of things, because I was forced to be faced with a lot of that,” Messersmith said. “I didn’t understand drag culture. I didn’t understand what was going on with it. I didn’t know. And now that I know, oh my God, I will be at a drag show every single night. Sign me up, I’m ready to go.”
Click here to check out this episode of our Outsports podcast, The Sports Kiki. You can also subscribe to the show on Apple’s Podcast page as well as on Google Podcasts, and wherever you’ll find Outsports podcasts.
You can follow Jallen Messersmith on Twitter and Instagram. Outsports – All Posts Read More

This is what it’s really like when a gay athlete hears gay slurs uttered by teammates

The “private” use of gay slurs and anti-gay language by Kevin Durant and Sebastian Lletget, and the total failure by the NBA and MLS to take action, underscore the complete misunderstanding in sports about the power of “casual homophobia.” | Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty ImagesBrock McGillis suffered for years hearing the very things Kevin Durant and Sebastian Lletget were allowed to say. I remember being 6 or 7 years old and watching a movie with my parents. The film had a gay character in it, and I said, “What if I’m gay?”
They replied, “If you’re gay, you’re gay. We love you.”
That conversation always remained in the back of my mind, but as a kid, my main focus was sports. Central among them was the game I loved: hockey. I got pretty good at it, too.
As I got a little older and began to recognize that I was gay, I never felt it would be safe to come out to my family. Not because they wouldn’t be supportive, but because my father and brother were deeply involved in hockey.
When you spend a significant amount of time in men’s sports culture you may become desensitized to the language used in locker rooms, and I was convinced that by coming out to them, they would become sensitive to it and stand up. I feared that in the process of standing up, my dad or brother may accidentally say that I’m gay in an attempt to humanize the issue for someone else who knows me — Before you know it, everyone in the hockey world would know.
I believed hockey wouldn’t accept me and being gay could jeopardize my hockey career and this belief stemmed from the language I heard in locker rooms.
Yes, this was the mental pretzel I put myself through.
Homophobic and heterosexist language is an epidemic in men’s team sport culture, and it has a massive impact on queer people looking to play. We’ve seen two prominent examples of it recently, in Kevin Durant’s private tirade full of homophobic language and Sebastian Lletget’s “joking” comment to a teammate that he posted on Instagram.
People don’t necessarily realize it, but both of these things have the same impact on a queer person in the locker room. The constant use of homophobic language — whether insults or jokes — have the same impact on a queer person in the locker room.
The constant use of homophobic language is a mental beatdown. Each day, you constantly hear that you’re somehow inferior, regardless of whether the words are directed at you or others. It takes a psychological toll, and that leads to this feeling that you can’t be both yourself and play the sport you love.
This language made me hate myself. It made me suppress my sexuality. I dated women to give the appearance that I was straight, but I’d go home at night hating myself, and wanting to die.
From age 18 to 23, while playing in the Ontario Hockey League and then professionally, I drank alcohol every single day to numb the pain. On at least five occasions I tried to die by suicide. When I was 18 years old, I would drive around thinking tonight is the night.
Keep in mind, I wasn’t bullied. This was all from language I heard in locker rooms and on the ice.
I wasn’t sleeping, I was severely depressed, drinking heavily, and the injuries followed. I had a season-ending injury every year from the time I was 15, until I retired from hockey in my late 20s. I went from being on NHL draft lists to playing in the minor leagues.
Keep in mind, I wasn’t bullied. This was all from language I heard in locker rooms and on the ice.
It was exactly the kind of behavior we saw from Durant and Lletget — “behind closed doors” or “joking — that drove me to depression.
This story isn’t unique to me. Since coming out, so many men have come to me sharing stories of struggling with locker room culture. Then there’s the youth; teenagers coming to me, realizing who they are, and many are struggling in the exact same way, ultimately leaving sports entirely.
This goes beyond the anecdotes of my experiences, and of those who have shared theirs with me. Studies like Out on the Fields show that “More than half (54%) of male athletes admit to using homophobic slurs in the past two weeks, and most (69%) have heard teammates use slurs.”
Dr. Cheryl MacDonald, who researched attitudes towards sexuality in hockey, points out the importance of language in her article on CHL draft pick Yanic Duplessis disclosing publicly that he’s gay.
This all makes the recent inadequate reaction by the NBA and MLS that much more disappointing. Leagues have “pride nights” and claim to be “allies,” both of which feel incredibly performative when their players receive only paltry fines for using homophobic language.
The atonement does not match the infraction. I don’t want these players canceled — I want them playing their sports — but I believe in accountability.
Players should not only be fined, but also suspended.
Even then, more needs to be done to shift the culture. This issue needs to be humanized, and people need to understand what it’s like for a gay, trans, or non-binary person in their locker room. This must be followed by thorough education.
These athletes have significant influence, both in and out of sport. Their language and behaviors have a ripple effect; Durant’s remarks were seen by millions, and there’s a high probability that they will be emulated by people who look up to him.
Sport is reactive. Leagues issue these fines when someone in the public eye uses homophobic language, and then everyone goes back to doing what they were doing, which allows the epidemic to rage on in locker rooms, and spills over into games, and social media.
They can change, though. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. If homophobic language wasn’t tolerated internally, and players were made aware of how serious of an impact it can have, then we could get them to rally around the issue. Not only would they potentially evolve their own language, but become agents of change to actually shift the culture of their sport.
From my experience, when athletes are made aware of the problem, they typically seem willing to shift. I have gone into locker rooms and humanized these issues for teams in a number of sports. Players constantly tell me they weren’t aware of the impact of their words, or the influence that they have.
I have seen the impact of players becoming shift makers, even in the athletes that I worked with after my own retirement:

Thread Please Read!Tonight on Brock Talks how I recognized that we can all create shifts in society. This story happened while I was running off season hockey program in Sudbury. I was working with close to 100 players and received a call from a hockey mom— Brock McGillis (@brock_mcgillis) April 7, 2021

To create a more inclusive culture in sports, and in life, we need the leagues and teams to step up. They must humanize these issues for players, educate them, and hold the players accountable if the time comes. They should then use their influence on their sport to shift things at all levels of their sport.
Men’s team sports need action to match their words of inclusion and keep queer people in sport.
It’s time for leagues and teams to strive to end this epidemic, rather than continue to mitigate its effects.
You can find Brock McGillis on his website, or on Twitter and Instagram. Outsports – All Posts Read More

Sabres and Penguins meet in first-ever NHL joint Pride matchup

Rainbow mixed with Penguins black and Sabres blue for the NHL’s first-ever joint Pride Game matchup in Buffalo, N.Y. Saturday | Photo by Joe Hrycych/NHLI via Getty ImagesThe nationally-televised hockey matchup also featured a special link to the You Can Play Project. Even in this season’s 56-game Covid-shortened National Hockey League slate, there has been room for Pride events. Saturday’s tilt in Buffalo between the host Sabres and the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins was the latest Pride event of the season, and it was an NHL first: The matchup was league’s first-ever joint Pride Game.
The battle between NHL East Division rivals, televised nationally on NBC, mattered in the standings for both teams. The Penguins are fighting to improve their position in the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Sabres entered the game needing a win to stay in the playoff picture.
Prior to the first puck, the teams were together in common cause. Rainbow tape adorned the sticks that fired special commemorative pucks toward goal. Practice jerseys featured rainbow numbers with the Daniel Quasar-designed Progress Pride Flag stitched on each sleeve. All articles, including a special commemorative hat designed by Penguins forward Jason Zucker, were part of a silent auction to benefit the You Can Play Project.
Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images
The Penguins and Sabres donned special Pride warm up jerseys which were part of a silent auction benefiting the You Can Play Project.You Can Play had a special link in this game through Penguins president of hockey operations Brian Burke. The longtime NHL executive is a co-founder of the project along with his son, NHL director of player safety Patrick Burke.
The effort was started in 2012 in honor of Brian’s late son, Brendan Burke, who died in a car accident in 2010 shortly after coming out to family as gay.
Since its founding, the project has sought to foster inclusion in sports opening with a simple, direct mantra — “If you can play, you can play.”
“While it’s a sports message, it’s a much broader message to people who are gay, particularly young athletes in team sports that you belong here,” Brian Burke noted in an interview with NBC Sports anchor Anson Carter prior to the game. “It’s helped a lot of people. All the major sports have jumped on board with it. The NHL has been a fantastic ally in a great venture.”

Thank you to the Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus for performing today’s anthems for our Pride Game! pic.twitter.com/tZzbaNhWG3— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) April 17, 2021

After the Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus performed both “O, Canada” and “The Star Spangled Banner” outdoors from a distance, there was still a game to play. Bolstered by 28 saves by goalie Tristan Jarry, the Penguins kept the Sabres at bay to win, 3-2. For the Pens, the win moved them up to second in the NHL East Division. The loss eliminated the Sabres from playoff contention.
Photo by Sara Schmidle/NHLI via Getty Images
Tristan Jarry kept the net closed enough for the Penguins to get a 3-2 win and to end the Sabres’ playoff hopes.For at least one day in the season, the stats, standings, and the Stanley Cup chase took a back seat to a greater mission. For Brian Burke, the day was about a succinct message that needed to be sent.
“To the LGBTQ+ community, you are welcome in our building, you are welcome on our teams, you are welcome to come watch our games,” Burke said. “We don’t care who you go home with, we don’t care what church you go to, we don’t care what color you are. If you can play and help our team win, you can play.”

For more information about this historic game, the featured nonprofits for both teams, to purchase commemorative game gear, or put a bid in for the silent auction which runs through Saturday April 24, click here. Outsports – All Posts Read More

America’s new Olympic uniforms look the way yacht rock sounds

“Yes, Trent, I know what happens when you get caught between the moon and New York City…” | Twitter: @NBCOlympicsRalph Lauren decides the image Team USA wants is ‘direct to VHS ski movie villains.’ Toward the end of last week, fashion icon Ralph Lauren unveiled their design for Team USA’s Summer Olympics Closing Ceremonies uniforms. These kits traditionally represent an opportunity for our country to craft a uniquely patriotic look for the entire world to witness.
As for the image of the United States that these unis create… well… how do I put this tactfully?
They look like we just found out the IOC is awarding a gold medal for White Privilege (As you’ve no doubt already guessed, the best way to win a gold in White Privilege is to have a dad who already owns one).
Twitter: @NBCOlympics
Somehow, everybody who puts this uniform on is named Chad.Now, I’m no fashionista by any means. Yet even I can see that it certainly is a bold stylistic choice to dress the entire squad like Team USA just named Judge Smails captain. But hey, at least every Olympian wearing these kits gets a free bowl of soup.
On the bright side, if you squint hard enough, perhaps this is a sign that we’ll soon be replacing “The Star Spangled Banner” as our national anthem with Duran Duran’s “Rio.”

Quite frankly, it’s about time.
Yes, I realize that several of these references are hopelessly trapped in the 1980s. But that’s only because the uniforms are too. The whole vibe feels as though Ralph Lauren and the USOC knew the stereotype of Americans traveling abroad and decided, “Screw it, let’s just lean into it.”
The problem is that this kit will make even our most likable athletes come across as insufferable boors who happen to run the decathlon on their break from summering at Martha’s Vineyard. As soon as Megan Rapinoe puts it on, it’s way too easy to imagine her demanding to see the manager in a Tokyo sushi restaurant to complain that they don’t have Philly rolls.
I guess If America can’t grant the USWNT equal pay, at least they can still give them the same, “What if Popeye got a legacy scholarship to Dartmouth?” look as their male counterparts. Outsports – All Posts Read More

MLS has cleared Sebastian Lletget to play after publicly calling a teammate a gay slur

Sebastian Lletget is cleared to play in the LA Galaxy season opener after publicly calling a teammate a gay slur. | Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty ImagesSebastian Lletget can play in the Galaxy season opener against Inter Miami, according to a source with the LA Galaxy. Sebastian Lletget has been cleared to play this weekend in the season opener for the LA Galaxy after the US Men’s National Team player called a teammate a gay slur.
A Galaxy spokesperson told Outsports, “Per MLS, he is cleared to play this weekend.”
Outsports has reached out to a Major League Soccer spokesperson but has not received a response.
A week ago, Lletget called teammate Julian Araujo a gay slur in Spanish, recorded it, and posted it to Instagram. When Outsports contacted the Galaxy about the incident, Lletget deleted the Instagram story and call Outsports to apologize. He later released an apology.
The Galaxy have repeatedly declined to publicly explain how it is handling the matter, saying the club is handling it “internally.”
MLS has said it has a “zero tolerance policy” toward gay slurs. The league and various clubs have taken action against players and fans, issuing suspensions and removing people from matches.
MLS can no longer make any claim that it has a “zero tolerance policy” against gay slurs. When it comes to “locker room talk,” this early indication is that the league is open to dismissing it, or at least treating it less than other slurs.
It’s unfortunate, given that this “locker room talk” is exactly what keeps gay and bi athletes in the closet. Being called a gay slur by an opponent has nowhere near the impact on a closeted gay athlete as hearing it from a teammate.
The Galaxy play at Inter Miami on Sunday. Outsports – All Posts Read More