Two weeks ago, Rick Welts, the Phoenix Suns CEO and President, announced that he was gay. MVP Suns player Steve Nash voiced his support for the 58-year-old and it came at a time when the NBA was seen in a not so positive light. Last month Lakers star Kobe Bryant used a gay slur on the court toward a referee and Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah did the same a few weeks ago, using an anti-gay slur meant for a fan. They were fined $100,000 and $50,000 respectively.
Before coming out, Welts spoke to several people before making the announcement, including NBA commissioner Howard Stern and Nash.
Nash, a long time supporter of marriage equality, recently was asked by Howard Beck of the New York Times if he felt the NBA was ready for a gay player. Here’s what Nash said:
“If a player in the locker room came out, it would come and go quickly, too. I really don’t think it’s a big issue anymore. I think it would be surprisingly accepted, and a shorter shelf life than maybe we would imagine. I think the time has come when it should happen soon. I think it will be something that won’t take on this life of its own. It won’t be the O. J. trial.”
Kudos, Steve! We need more players like yourself lending support for the gay community. Nash has partnered with the Human Rights Campaign, and put out a video supporting the marriage equality proposition in New York. (Nash spends his off seasons there). You can see the spot below.
Nash’s teammates, Jared Dudley and Grant Hill, did a PSA that has been shown during some of the playoff games that spoke about how using the word ‘gay’ is an insult.
I am proud to be a longtime Phoenix Suns fan. Even prouder of Nash, Hill and Dudley. I think more athletes need to follow suit.