One of the world’s leading experts on LGBT sports issues
I’ve dealt with homophobia in sports since childhood. Throughout middle and high school I was teased mercilessly by the big jocks in basketball and soccer for being gay (and by the way, I didn’t even think I was). The locker room was a place of fear for me. I remember the epithets showing up as we watched the Boston Celtics take on Magic and the dreaded Los Angeles Lakers. Whether as an athlete or fan, the people surrounding me drilled into my head – verbally and physically – what it meant to be gay in sports: Weak, powerless, second-class.
When I began winning team MVP awards and all-conference honors and setting high school track & field records, the teasing stopped. It was another reminder of the power of homophobia: Winning and excelling in sports were the antithesis of being gay. As long as I was faster and could jump further than everyone else, as long as I could rattle off Larry Bird’s field goal percentage, I wouldn’t have to endure the teasing.
Years later, when I co-founded Outsports.com in 1999, we made it our mission to end all of that. We would tell the stories of LGBT athletes and uncover the true nature of the homophobia that had plagued me and so many other gay athletes before and after me. For 15 years, Outsports has shared both the trials and triumphs of these athletes. We have changed the face of sports. Today, Outsports is a powerful media outlet – part of the fast-growing Vox Media empire that owns SB Nation, Curbed, The Verge and Ezra Klein’s fledgling news venture, Vox.com. Outsports.com attracted over 3.5 million unique visitors in the last year.
Over the last 15 years, my work has made me one of the world’s leading experts on LGBT sports issues. As co-founder of Outsports.com, dubbed “the worldwide leader in gay sports,” I have written about homophobia in sports and gay athletes more than anyone else in the world. When athletes want to come out publicly, they come to me: NFL prospect Michael Sam; John Amaechi, the first former NBA player ever to come out as gay; former NFL player Wade Davis; Conner Mertens, the first active college football player ever to come out; The NCAA’s first transgender college basketball player, Kye Allums; Derrick Gordon, NCAA Div. 1’s first out gay athlete in any of the big four sports. They have all come to me to announce to the world that they are LGBT.
There are more coming. These people seek me out because of my storytelling style, the depth at which I understand the issues facing LGBT athletes and my ability to turn stories into national sensations.
When other media outlets talk about the struggle of gay athletes, they call me. People magazine contacted me as a consultant on a series on gay athletes. I have appeared as an LGBT sports expert in virtually every major national media outlet including Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, USA Today, National Public Radio, ESPN, ABC, CBS, the NFL Network and CNN. When big LGBT sports stories hit, the top Sunday news shows “Face The Nation” and “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” come calling (and, when Michael Sam came out, on the same weekend).
In addition to running Outsports, I’m a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and SB Nation where I’ve penned popular pieces highlighting LGBT sports and political issues, the Olympics and the NFL. This year I have written for the likes of The Nation, Time, Playboy, MSNBC, CNN and Out magazine. Over the years I’ve also penned popular and controversial columns from “Is Tim Tebow gay?” to “Ban Russia from their own Winter Olympics.” I’ve taken the media to task for failing to understand the core issues of gay athletes in sports – at the same time earning their respect for doing so. I’ve been recognized for writing excellence by GLAAD and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.
As founder of the Nike LGBT Sports Summit, an annual meeting of the LGBT Sports Coalition (which I also co-founded), I have powerful working relationships with virtually every organization working in the gay sports space, including You Can Play, GLSEN, GLAAD, the NCAA, the US Olympic Committee and many others.
I still keep my hand in sports as a high school football official, and as a bowler and football player in local gay leagues in Los Angeles, where I live with my partner, a family of deer and two crazy cats.