Posted by | January 14th 2013

It’s been an arduous and fun-filled three months since our launch. We’d like to thank all of you who have supported us along the way. It’s good to know that together we can engender greater tolerance and equality for all who play and enjoy sports as well as the culture at large.

We are about to archive the Commissioner Campaign and move on to the Owner Campaign and wanted to fill you all in on what we’ve accomplished with your help.

* Over 1100 letters have been sent by sports fans and others asking the five major league sports commissioners to interview with The Last Closet to speak about homophobia in their sport.

* We received substantial press coverage – over 40 articles or mentions about The Last Closet on-line and in print.

* We have had two television broadcasts specifically about our project.

* Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos facilitated an alliance with The Last Closet and the City of San Francisco.  The city initiated a press conference to introduce a resolution in support of The Last Closet campaign and LGBT pro athletes. Among other things it specifically asks the commissioners to interview with The Last Closet to answer our two basic questions – “Will you invite your gay players to come out?” and “What safety nets will you have in place for them once they do?”. The resolution was passed on Oct. 30, 2012 with a unanimous vote of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

* As a result of this historic event, a coalition has been formed to bring this resolution to other cities and counties across the country that host professional sports teams. The coalition is comprised of former mayor Art Agnos, SF Supervisor David Campos, Outsports and co-producer for TLC Cyd Zeigler , NCLR’s sports project director Helen Carroll, and The Last Closet director Fawn Yacker and co-director Jennifer Kelley.

If any of you are interested in furthering this potentially potent resolution please contact us at:

* We have posted over 400 video clips of pivotal sports figures speaking about homophobia in sports. These include retired out athletes, educators, journalists, publicists, academics, straight allies, sports leaders, young LGBT atletes and others. These clips are categorized with easy reference to the subject matter being addressed. Many more are being prepared and on the way!

* Equality Coaching Alliance has joined our campaign and composed their own letter in support of our project and the need for the sports hierarchy to speak out in support of their LGBT athletes. This was sent to all five league commissioners. We will begin to engage other LGBT sports organizations to do the same. Please let us know if you would be interested in supporting our effort.

*We have been building followers on facebook and twitter about our present campaign and our goal to help facilitate the first athletes in the major league history to come out publicly while actively playing.

* Our next campaign is in the works and begins mid January 2013. We are asking team owners to speak up about homophobia in sports and we also have two basic questions for them to address. The first is the same we asked of the commissioners – Will you invite your gay players to come out? The second has been adjusted to reflect the possibility that the leagues and teams may not have a definitive answer for that question which was: What safety nets will you have in place for them once they do? We are instead asking: Would you be willing to provide viable safety nets for these athletes once they come out? 

You can suggest additional questions by clicking here. 

* Our blogs update you in on what we’ve been thinking, where the movement is headed and what we’ve been up to.

In summary, although none of the commissioners have yet agreed to an interview, we know through our communications with their public relations staff that this campaign has helped move the dialogue forward within the leagues. Commissioners, if they didn’t already, now know that they will be called on to take responsibility for creating safe environments for their gay athletes. We would like to commend several of them for their efforts to create a culture of tolerance and inclusiveness in their leagues. You can continue to request an interview with them on our behalf by visiting our Campaign Archive page  and sending a letter, or by tweeting to the leagues directly.