Professional Bowler Scott Norton: ‘I am a Gay Athlete’

Professional bowler Scott Norton has come out of the closet. Norton cites the coming out earlier this week of Phoenix Suns CEO and President Rick Welts as the catalyst to his decision.

Norton He writes in a piece for the Professional Bowlers Association:

While many athletes wait until they retire to officially come out, the fact that Mr. Welts has the courage to do so while still actively involved with the NBA has encouraged me to also acknowledge that I am a gay athlete.

It is extremely important for me to come out to show other gay athletes, both current and future, that it is important to come out to show that we are just like everyone else. Being gay doesn’t define who I am as a person or as a professional athlete. I'm also a professional bowler, lawyer, caring, compassionate, strong, and many other things.

It's important to show people that being gay has nothing to do with one's ability to do anything as a man, least of all compete at the highest level of sports.

Read the whole piece HERE.

It's amazing to see what can happen when people like Rick Welts lead by example!


  1. Brian in Texas says


    No bowlers are not “athletes” nor are golfers. They are still within the “world of sports” though. It takes great skill to play at that level. All sports are games, but not all games are sports.

    Congratulations Scott Norton!

  2. Rowan says

    Oh my god, do you know how much time and practice it takes to win any sporting event?

    His is like saying womens sport isn’t sport.

    Thanks Nola for showing how nasty, idiotic and clueless the ‘gay community’ is.

  3. Krh says

    Who put something in the drinking water this week? Not to diminish his coming out as I think it is great when anyone decides to come out but we need a big one. Say a player from the Red Sox or such.

  4. NaughtyLola says

    The amount of time and practice is irrelevant, it’s the nature of the activity. It takes a lot of time and practice to become an outstanding guitar player, too. That doesn’t make Eddie van Halen or Eric Johnson (am I showing my age?) athletes. I’d throw that up there with golf — sports, but not athletics.

  5. Rowan says

    Andy, oops my bad. Just saw this after I scrolled down. It’s all heady heights here!

    Lol Nodrab, you would be surprised to hear about what Beckham gets up to…..nothing is that straight…

    If you get a chance read the brilliant article in Outsports with Will the brilliant college player. He is so frantk, honest and full of non of BS it’s refreshing.

    One thing he says is that ‘ yeah, there were a lot of guys having gay sex but not sure if they saw themselves as gay’…

    I could marry this dude. Honesty and realism rocks.

  6. James says

    It’s all good…we’re seeing movement at all levels of the sports world this week.
    If you are interested in promoting LGBT inclusiveness and combating homophobia in sports & athletic programs at all levels (including school PE programs), please join us at the “Athlete Ally” Facebook page, and take the Ally Pledge.

  7. ohplease says

    Imagine if Rick Welts had led by example decades ago when he was already a rich white man and while his partner — who he would later deny after his death to friends, family and employers who all supported their relationship in a Welts-imposed silence — was still alive.

    It’s great that men who haven’t yet thrown their lives away due to cowardice, men who actually have something to lose, are stepping up now. Nobody in their right mind, after all, would want to end up like Rick Welts.

    Rick Welts as a cautionary tale, yes. Rick Welts as a leader among men? You have got to be f*cking kidding me.

  8. D says

    Considering his facebook profile shows him married to a man and has a picture of them… I don’t really think he was in the closet to begin with.

  9. LaShawn says


    This is from Merriam-Webster –
    Athlete: a person who is trained in or good at sports, games, or exercises that require physical skill and strength.

    I would say bowling is a sport or game that requires physical skill and strength.

    I certainly don’t watch bowling on TV and have only bowled a few times in my life but I can tell you my bowling arm was really sore at the end of the game.
    Don’t pretend to know everything, NL.

  10. says

    I read his statement and it’s beautiful. He’s a credit to our cause. Leave it at that. To parse him as an athlete or a sportsman is irrelevant – he’s celebrated on the stage of public events (in a particularly hetero context no less) and it is to his credit that he doesn’t deny who he is. I applaud him.

  11. Todd says

    It is astonishing that people must post their inner shame on a website comments section. This week has been a watershed for gay visibility in sports. And first people must quibble that bowling and golf are not really sports, that these fellas are not athletes?? Really??? Or that somehow the fact that Mr Welts didn’t come out fast enough, so he is diminished. Everyone is somehow diminished in the eyes of you fools who must post your ridiculous insecurities for all of us to read. All these men have done something astonishing in their lives this week. They are brave, brave because they have done this for the entire country to see in a profession that has been the most homophobic and hardest to crack. I applaud them. I applaud their courage no matter how long it took them to find it. We are finally becoming a real community that is going to be visible in every walk of life. And that is how we are going to finally become equal.

  12. Rowan says


    Get a life.

    So it doesn’t affect you so we should all crawl up and die?

    Not everyone is lucky…or has the strength…

    But for me, the bottom line is outcomes. If he’d come out as gay in the 80’s and not gotten any work in the NBA like many…wouldn’t that be special?

    But the fact that he has this power, influence and respect around him is HUGELY or even more so important the coming out early.

    He is breaking taboos. Boundaries.

    For god sake, think strategically for once instead of ‘about you’.

  13. James says

    I would caution some of you who are quick to criticize people for not coming out years ago that that the 1970s thru 1990s examples of gay men who cam out in sports did not end well (remember David Kopay, Justin Fashanu, and Dave Pallone).
    Things today are built on work toward equality that was done earlier – piece by piece. It’s only in recent years where this kind of LGBT inclusiveness in sports has been on the horizon.

  14. Randy says

    @OH PLEASE: Stop. Unless you’re both out and working in the world of professional sports you have no valuable insight that would lead you to be as critical as you’re being of this one man.

    You’re just trying to crap on things to make yourself feel better about being such an internet troll.

  15. I'm God says

    @OhPlease: Consider that he works in sports, which is historically more homophobic than the rest of society. I agree that he’s not a leader, but he’s not behind the times; in fact, 2011 has been a year with lots of gay male athletes coming out, as well as heterosexual athletes announcing support for equality.

  16. adamblast says

    Congrats and good for him! It’s been an amazing week for gay visibility in sports. Kudos to them all….

    …But really. Snark is the prime mover of nearly all web commenting, and the “Athlete?? Really??” comment basically writes itself from the headline quote. Someone *had* to do it, and getting one’s boxers in a twist over it is just silly.

  17. Angela Channing says

    Okay a moment of shallowness…If I knew such cute men bowled, I would have watched this a long time ago! Woofy woof! Now back to maturity….Thanks Scott Norton for making a difference! :-)

  18. says

    Good for him, and yes bowlers are athletes. It’s mostly a skill sport but you try throwing a 14 pound ball down a 25 yard lane roughly 60 times (that’s about 3 games) while trying to concentrate and keep the bowling ball straight and see if you don’t tire out a bit.

  19. Christopher says

    @Randy “You’re just trying to crap on things to make yourself feel better about being such an internet troll.”

    So true—love how all these queens are suddenly experts on what is or isn’t a sport when if you threw a ball at most of them they’d run screaming

  20. says

    Wow! I admire the courage, guts and thinking of these professional player, to go out to is close and go tell to the world about his sexual preferences. He is gay. Ahm..may I just ask? I’m sure, maybe he encountered girl friends before confessing his true self. May I know how many girl friends Scott Norton have before this news? Thanks

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