Photo Courtesy of Getty/Reuters
Being on a sports team comes with camaraderie and often times, teammates can become really close, like family. When Michael Sam, formerly a Mizzou football player and now a St. Louis Ram, came out gay to his teammates, his college teammates embraced him and accepted him. They saw him for the strong player that he was. He was co-defensive player of the year in the South Eastern Conference, so his sexuality didn’t matter.
Sam later came out to the entire world just weeks before the NFL draft, becoming the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team. The entire world seemed to rejoice and gave him an extreme amount of attention when he kissed his partner on television.
What many people don’t know is there were many professional female athletes that had come out before Michael Sam or NBA player Jason Collins did. When Brittany Griner was the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA draft, no one gave her the same amount of attention when she came out and said she was a lesbian.
At Cabrillo High School, I’ve played badminton and tennis. As a female athlete, I see the inequality in the sports world. Female athletes just don’t get the same amount of attention as male athletes receive, even when they succeed in achieving their dreams of becoming a professional athlete.
VoiceWaves asked female athletes at Cabrillo High School weigh in on two questions: Why is it more impressive and noteworthy when a male athlete lives an openly gay life than when a female does? Why don’t women get as much attention as male athletes in general?
“Women and men, in sports especially, were never considered equals. Female athletes are seen as inferior even if they play the same sport. Male athletes are seen as stronger, faster, and more agile thus labeling us as weak, which is not true.” –Brenda Martinez, Junior
“I don’t believe it’s impressive or noteworthy when an athlete comes out. When I think of an athlete, I think about their sport and ability, not their personal life.” –Bella Fuentes, Junior
“I believe men get more attention in sports because people like the aggressiveness that comes along with it, and being gay would mean to some that the athlete isn’t aggressive.” –Alex Esquivias, Junior
“I think it’s more impressive when a male athlete lives an openly gay life because of the way society is. Society tends to be more accepting to [gay] women, but men aren’t always accepted. Also, people judge males more because they are always in the spotlight.” –Rochelle Galita, Junior