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Billie Jean King: Sexuality is still an issue for athletes

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Tennis legend Billie Jean King has warned that sexuality is still an issue for athletes.

The veteran player – who took home 39 grand slam titles throughout her career – said that there is still a lot of progress to be made, over 30 years after she came out.

In an interview with Associated Press, she hailed basketball stars Jason Collins and Brittney Griner, and NFL star Michael Sam as trailblazers, adding: “[progress comes] one by one… you just keep chipping away”.

She said: “The reason we cover it, it’s an exception. That’s the way the world works, the way the news works.”

[Gay athletes will no longer be news] when we have more guys who are gay and it’s a non-issue. I don’t know how many gay football players in the NFL it will take.”

“One of the biggest things that would help is if one of the quarterbacks who is straight, or all collectively say, `This is a non-issue. Let’s get on with it. As long as they do their job, we don’t care.’

“The Bradys, the Lucks, the Romos, Payton Manning, Eli Manning, if all those guys would just say ‘this is so ridiculous, as long as the guy can play, we don’t care what colour, what sexual orientation’.”

Sam, who made history in May as the first out player to be drafted by an NFL team, was let go by the St Louis Rams last week, as they reduced their roster from 75 to 53 players.

He has since been signed to the practice team of the Dallas Cowboys, adding: “I’m excited to be to be joining Dallas, I just want to play football… it’s been a roller coaster this past week but I’m happy where I’m at now.”


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