LAST SATURDAY, Brewers minor league first baseman David Denson came out to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, making him the first openly gay active player affiliated with a major league team. (Sean Conroy, a pitcher in the independent Pacific Association, came out in June.) Denson's announcement came one day after defensive end Michael Sam, who in 2014 became the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL, tweeted that he was stepping away from the sport after playing one game for the CFL's Montreal Alouettes because, he wrote, "The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health."
Sam didn't elaborate, but Denson could relate to that feeling. The 20-year-old told the Journal Sentinel that he battled depression before his revelation to his family and his Helena (Mont.) Brewers teammates. The struggles of Sam and Denson are a reminder that while players' coming out is an essential step in the acceptance and tolerance of gay athletes in sports, it remains a difficult one. Denson received guidance from Billy Bean, a gay former major leaguer who is MLB's first Ambassador for Inclusion, and he got support from the entire Milwaukee organization and his fellow Rookie Leaguers. "They said, 'You're still our teammate. You're still our brother,'" Denson told the paper.
That response was encouraging. The barriers Sam and other pioneering gay athletes have broken are already making it easier for those who have followed them, raising hope that the day will soon arrive when such news really won't be news at all.
Games before a Padres batter hit for the cycle. Last Friday outfielder Matt Kemp became the team's first, leaving the Marlins as the only franchise without a cycle.
1 in 32,678
Odds of all 15 MLB home teams winning on the same day, which happened for the first time on Aug. 11.
Value, based on current tuition rates, of 1,100 scholarships to the University of Akron that will be funded by LeBron James's foundation and the school in a partnership announced last Friday.
Straight home games without a loss for the U.S. women's soccer team, which shut out Costa Rica 8--0 on Sunday in its first match since winning the Women's World Cup on July 5.
The sons of three prominent rappers signed up to play Division I football. So far the results are a lil mixed
Snoop Dogg > Cordell Broadus
The 6'2", 195-pound four-star receiver accepted a scholarship from the Bruins last winter but quit on Aug. 13. He's still at UCLA, but now he's studying film instead of game tape.
P Diddy > Justin Combs
A 5'7", 170-pound junior DB, Combs has four career tackles at UCLA, but his father attacked a Bruins assistant coach with a kettlebell in June and was arrested for assault. (The DA declined to file charges.)
Nate Dogg > Naijiel Hale
The late rapper's son played in all 14 games and started two for Washington as a 5'10", 182-pound freshman cornerback, but on Aug. 6 he was kicked off the team for unspecified disciplinary reasons.
MIKE JANES/FOUR SEAM IMAGES/AP (DENSON)
LISA LAKE/GETTY IMAGES (SNOOP DOGG)
CHRISTOPHER POLK/GETTY IMAGES FOR BET (DIDDY)
MARK SULLIVAN/WIREIMAGE (NATE DOGG)