Jackie Kallen: Do we really care whether Orlando Cruz is gay or straight?


By Jackie Kallen

Last time I checked, it was 2013. Gay marriage is no longer a big deal and whether or not an athlete is homosexual or heterosexual is a moot point. Who really cares? And why should we care?

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Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank

Boxer Orlando Cruz made headlines a year ago when the Puerto Rican featherweight admitted that he is a gay man. So was Emile Griffith. But in his day, athletes did not dare venture out of the closet. Though many suspected it, Griffith didn’t admit to being gay until many years later.

Cruz will face Orlando Salido this weekend for the vacant WBO Featherweight belt. If he wins, he’ll be the first openly gay champion in boxing history. That thought excites him and is motivating him to make history. He believes that a win for him will be a win for all gay athletes, most of whom are still in the closet.

When Cruz stopped Aalan Martinez in March, do you think Martinez cried because he was knocked out by a gay man? How about Michael Franco? He fought Cruz in 2011 and didn’t make it out of the first round. I wonder if he is hanging his head in shame because he was beat by a gay man.

If that’s the case, then Daniel Ponce de Leon’s KO win over Cruz must feel somehow diminished to him since he knocked out a gay guy.

I think it’s all a crock of sh*t. NBA player Jason Collins is openly gay and soccer player Robbie Rogers is gay. They are no longer keeping it a secret. Boxer Christy Martin’s left her abusive husband for her lesbian lover. Plenty of female boxers are gay and no one blinks an eye

When Orlando Cruz walks into the ring on Saturday, resplendent in his pink/blue satin outfit with the rainbow trunks, I will be applauding. Not because I am picking him to win, but because I admire his courage. Admitting you are a gay man in the world of boxing took a lot of guts.

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