This question is for Cyd - you have conducted and/or handled a number of coming out interviews. to you, what has been the most memorable and/or made the most impact historically?
Michael Sam's journey this year is the most important coming-out ever in sports. Dave Kopay is right up there - he started this whole thing in the 70s. But the way Michael did it, before the draft, answers all questions. To have been able to write the behind-the-scenes story of his coming out was really amazing. You can see that story here: http://www.outsports.com/2014/2/9/5396036/michael-sam-gay-football-player-missouri-nfl-draft
Other than that "obvious" one, I think the story I wrote about Stephen Alexander, the trans high school coach in Rhode Island, was powerful. He's in his hometown in rural New England and is making a huge impact. He is an amazing man. You can see that story here: http://www.outsports.com/2013/11/12/5095154/transgender-coach-stephen-alexander-profile-glocester-rhode-island
Greg - When you look at athletes who are coming out today vs. when you were competing and dealing with the media, other than acceptance, which has obviously grown, what is the biggest difference you see?
Times have changed here in the US, though there are areas in States we could improve, but with more states recognizing marriage equality is something I never thought I would see in my lifetime
Cyd, What do you think of MLB's recognition of Glenn Burke at the All-Star game? A good start, but only if it's followed by real steps to allow players to be who they are? Or just show/too little too late?
Any time one of the big pro sports leagues does something to recognize LGBT athletes it is a powerful step forward. The acknowledgement of Glenn Burke was awesome, but even more powerfully was the hiring of Billy Bean. Billy is going to do an amazing job guiding the league on these issues. He will be visiting with all 30 teams in the next year, working with rookies and players, and trying to put together outreach to the minor league teams. The recognition of Glenn was powerful - but the hiring of Billy will have been transformative.
Cyd, When it comes to people in the later rounds of the NFL, its somewhat of a crapshoot if they will be able to be successful. The problem I envision is that if Sam doesn't make them team, the Rams will be labeled as discriminatory. This will discourage other NFL teams from selecting someone a gay player until the talent is beyond reproach because most teams don't like individual drama. Its not fair but if you were the Rams and felt Sam was not one of the best people, how would you handle the situation.
Michael Sam will or won't make the roster depending on his ability to help the team win. Period. No NFL team is going to keep someone on who doesn't help them win. Les Snead and Jeff Fisher don't keep their jobs if they put Michael Sam on the roster - they keep their jobs ONLY if the Rams can build a winning franchise. These two men did not draft Michael so they could cut him. They want him on the team. And if he earns a spot, he'll get it.
Cyd, Is there something you've seen LGBT athletes say in interviews or when talking to the media that strikes you as particularly smart? On the flip side, anything athletes say that rubs you the wrong way?
Just about everything John Amaechi says is brilliant. I think he's a really underrated part of this movement. His coming out - and the ensuing anti-gay comments from Tim Hardaway - was a transformative moment for our community. If you don't follow @JohnAmaechi on Twitter, you must.
What rubs me the wrong way? Any time someone hides behind this "distraction" mantra about LGBT athletes. We are not distractions - that is a relic from a time when we were not in every corner of society. Certainly there is added media attention - but if a player or coach in the pros cannot handle a few extra cameras, they should quit. Not surprisingly, Rams coach Jeff Fisher has said this a couple times.
Cyd, I wish more attention were being paid to the fact that Michael Sam came out to his college football teammates at the beginning of his final season, and the team was able to play successfully all season without the "distractions" that some seem to fear. (Should we give at least a little of the credit to his college coaches, too?)
Michael's coming out at Missouri has been discussed quite a bit, I think. And I'm glad for that. But it's constantly discussed with a "surprised" tone. The team was given a sportsmanship award by the SEC. That's all nice - but why on earth should a team get an award for accepting a gay teammate? The Univ. of Nebraska football team accepted gay kicker Eric Lueshen in 2006. The Bloomsberg University football team accepted Brian Sims in 2000. Michael was just the latest in a long line of gay athletes accepted by their team.