Sport is often linked to heterosexual masculinity, creating an uncomfortable atmosphere for those who do not fit in sport’s perceived mold, especially homosexual athletes. Much research has been done examining sport and sexual orientation in terms of athletes. Ted Kian of Oklahoma State University and the University of Alabama’s John Vincent decided to analyze sport and sexual orientation focusing on the content producers or more specifically sports journalists.
Presenting their preliminary findings Wednesday at the annual conference for the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport in New Orleans, Kian and Vincent found that sports journalism appears to be an area lacking in people who are declared homosexuals.
Kian and Vincent interviewed seven veteran sports reporters, and all seven said they have never worked with other sports journalists whom they know are homosexual. This is not to say these reporters, who have more than 140 years of reporting experience among them, have not worked with homosexuals. They said they just have not worked with sports journalists whom they know are homosexual.
The findings of Kian and Vincent, though not definitive, raise interesting questions about the atmosphere in sports departments and the departments’ inclusiveness.
The journalists Kian and Vincent interviewed also said they believe society is ready for a major star in one the four dominant male team sports to identify as a homosexual. The reporters also said teammates’ acceptance of that individual could take some time.
— Steve Bien-Aimé