Sexual orientation doesn’t matter, say Langara athletes

Rhea Silvestri, a Langara basketball player, says that sexual orientation makes no difference on or off the court. Photo by Madelyn Forsyth.
Rhea Silvestri, a Langara basketball player, says that sexual orientation makes no difference on or off the court. Photo by Madelyn Forsyth.

Despite controversy regarding some gay pro-athletes coming out recently, Langara athletes tend to look at skill over sexual orientation.

According to the Southeastern Conference in the NCAA, American college football player Michael Sam is considered to be a top-five draft pick this coming NFL season and is one of the top defensive players. Sam came out as gay two weeks ago, potentially jeopardizing his draft prospects. While NFL executives and head coaches say it shouldn’t affect his career, others have said the NFL isn’t ready for an openly gay player.

What do Langara athletes think?

Matthew Chan, a Langara badminton player, doesn’t think much would change if he had gay teammates but thinks it is different in professional sports.

“It’s just because you have to market yourself, right? As an athlete you’re really a brand and then there [are] still a lot of conservative people out there so if you are out, then you’re limiting your brand to the people that support gay [people] or just don’t care,” Chan said.

Rhea Silvestri, 21, is a Langara basketball player. She said Sam’s sexual orientation shouldn’t negatively affect his chances.

“I think that’s ridiculous. I mean it doesn’t change his skill,” she said. “That would be really stupid if that’s the reason he doesn’t get picked, because he came out.”

Silvestri has openly gay teammates and said it doesn’t make a difference on or off the court.

“When you’re on the court that’s all you focus on,” she said. “Leave your personal issues off the court and when you’re on there you just play the game.”

Veteran NBA basketball player, Jason Collins announced he was gay in April and was just signed to the Brooklyn Nets on a 10-day contract. Out of the four major professional sports in the U.S., Collins is the first openly gay athlete.

Pressure to be silent

The pressure for pro-athletes to stay quiet about their sexual orientation is nothing new, but B.C. Lions wide receiver Marco Iannuzzi is working with the CFL on eliminating homophobia in sports while in the off-season. In an interview with The Province last week, Iannuzzi said he wouldn’t care if a teammate were gay. The CFL also fined two players recently for anti-gay comments on social media.

Texas sportscaster Dale Hansen expressed his thoughts on why things need to change in the NFL. His statement has since gone viral on many social media sites.

“You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots, you’re the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft,” he said.“You love another man, now you’ve gone too far.”

Reported by Madelyn Forsyth

Watch the viral video of sportscaster Dale Hensen’s statements below:

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