Sexuality in Sport, Does it Matter?

October 31, 2012 at 1:59 pm 2 comments

Are sportsmen brave to come out and admit that they are gay? Do most sports fans really care if they are as long as they entertain and perform when they run out on the park, take the court, or climb into the ring?

Interestingly a fair few column centimetres were dedicated to news that Puerto Rican Featherweight Orlando Cruz admitting he is gay. Maybe because boxing is such a testosterone-fuelled sport that it is hard for many fans to comprehend.

Former Welsh Rugby International Gareth Thomas made a valid point when he finally “came-out” that he did not want to be known as ‘that gay rugby player.’ He wanted to be known first and foremost as a rugby player, a job at which he excelled. What other jobs outside of professional sport is your sexuality used as a prefix?

It really should not matter what preferences an athlete has sexually, unless it is inappropriate or as happened in the past, it effects the image of the sport. This happened most notably when Emile Griffith met Cuban Benny “the Kid” Paret for the third time. Griffith who at the time was rumoured to be gay, -this was 1962 and to admit it would have been commercial suicide – had won the world welterweight title off of Paret in 1961, and in a rematch had lost a split decision.

The third fight which was once again for the World title was also for bragging rights. Prior to the fight at the weigh in it was alleged that Paret called Griffith ‘Maricon’ a Spanish word meaning ‘faggot;’ a derogatory term used against homosexuals.

In round 12 Griffith knocked Paret unconscious, yet Paret did not fall to the floor. Propped up against the ropes Griffith struck Paret repeatedly for several seconds before referee Ruby Goldstein stopped the fight. Paret never regained consciousness, and died ten days later.

The ABC which televised the fatal bout, ended its boxing broadcasts and other U.S. networks followed suit as a result. Boxing would not return to free to air television until the 1970s.

Hopefully in the 21st century we are not so homophobic and a man or a woman’s sexuality should be of little consequence.


Entry filed under: Boxing. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Test for Britain Doesn’t Add Up

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Paul  |  October 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    The footage of Griffith killing Paret in the ring is one the most disturbing sporting things I have ever seen on TV excluding Heysel, Bradford and Hillsborough.

  • 2. notthefootyshow  |  October 31, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Paul, so true. Its sickening.


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