The President and Chief Executive officer of the Phoenix Suns, Rick Welts, has revealed to NBA Commissioner David Stern that he’s gay. It is not certain how fans in the conservative Phoenix, Arizona area will feel about this latest news, however Welts has had a 40 year career in sports and is certainly a top flight professional where his sexual orientation alone shouldn’t really be an issue. But this new news does raise the question whether when L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant called a referee by an antigay derogatory remark last month and was fined $100,000, whether it was somehow connected to the meeting of Sterns and Welts just the day before. Will the NBA be dishing out more fines now for players who make now make remarks seen as insensitive of gays?
On one hand, Welts sexual orientation shouldn’t become an issue. It’s his own life. On the other hand, is the NBA now going to become more sensitive or even overly sensitive to this issue? Ever since professional basketball became integrated years ago, it has always been sensitive to promoting good positive race relations and fans many years ago accepted integration notions while much of American society lagged on such issues. In many areas, such as entertainment, homosexuality has become commonplace and accepted. In women’s sports, it has been quietly accepted for years that some players might be gay, although it has never publicly became an issue. But, the news about Rick Welts breaks some new ground in professional men’s sports.
Let the discussion begin…..