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How Will NASCAR React To An Openly Gay Driver?

Rhodes
Openly gay one-time NASCAR driver Stephen Rhodes gave an interview to Race Hub on the Speed Network this week about his plans to return to the sport after a 10 year absence. The segment questions how fans and other drivers might possibly react to an openly gay driver.

Rhodes, who has been openly gay since he was 17 years old, has an opinion about this:

"I don't think going into a sport - having to face the ones that either like me or don't like me - is anything any different than I live any day. I live in the South. I know that NASCAR has a conservative, Southern fan base, and I'm not going to try and change anyone's minds and their opinions. They're either going to like me or going to hate me. That's just life in general, really."

Bleacher Report lists a few reactions on Twitter - both positive and negative.

Watch the full Race Hub interview, AFTER THE JUMP.

 

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Comments

  1. I'm the first to admit I'm not a huge fan of most sports, but I really don't get NASCAR. I understand that there's a fair bit of skill involved, but it doesn't seem like a sport to me. And watching people drive fast cars seems almost ghoulish given the frequent accidents.

    Yes, I'm gay.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jul 20, 2013 9:30:59 PM


  2. I hope he gets his chance to drive and does it well.

    Posted by: jsb | Jul 20, 2013 9:57:20 PM


  3. good for him! However, I wish his "marketing consultant" didn't refer to being gay as a "lifestyle", though. That drives me crazy. It is a life not a lifestyle.

    Posted by: tikko | Jul 20, 2013 10:20:04 PM


  4. I collect dolls AND watch NASCAR every week, though I have to admit in the olden days the only time I had the races on TV was when I had a Sunday morning hangover. The sound of the cars buzzing around the track really helped me sleep it off. Try it, it works!

    But after 30 years of living away from home, then coming back, NASCAR has been a bonding experience with my brothers and I think having me open their eyes to the gay world around them, they would be fine with a gay driver.

    Stephen, I don't follow the truck series like I do Sprint Cup up here near Watkins Glen, but I will keep my eyes open for you. Best of luck!

    Posted by: BrianB | Jul 20, 2013 10:29:17 PM


  5. Stephen is reentering the NASCAR truck division. Justin Mullikin is in the auto. here's link to,his FB page - https://www.facebook.com/mullikinracing

    you can also check out the site gears4queers.com

    Justin has been competing as an out driver for quite a while

    Posted by: mike/ | Jul 20, 2013 10:58:29 PM


  6. He's gay, he's not colored. He'll be fine.

    Posted by: Zeta | Jul 20, 2013 11:42:03 PM


  7. I wish him the best, admire his courage, and hope he changes hearts and minds in a demographic that tends to be uneducated and/or religious.

    But I admit that I have zero admiration for the sport of car racing: It's a waste of irreplaceable fuel sources. It pollutes. It's dangerous. It's about as stupid as boxing.

    Posted by: southerner | Jul 21, 2013 12:43:41 AM


  8. @zeta. is this a contest? define "fine


    whenever i see southern gays in documentaries and news pieces, there always seems to be a heavy sadness about them

    Posted by: gomez | Jul 21, 2013 1:25:06 AM


  9. For him I'll give NASCAR a chance. Hope he finds great success in his return.

    Posted by: Jay | Jul 21, 2013 1:41:27 AM


  10. If you had bet me, yesterday, that there would be an out NASCAR driver before there was an out player in the NFL, I would have asked you if you were on glue.

    Posted by: FFS | Jul 21, 2013 2:11:41 AM


  11. I hope he does well. I'll be checking on him. I do want to say that gay people declare things are ok and everyone is fine with gay people before actually openly gay people are in the position to say so.

    Posted by: Billy Crytical | Jul 21, 2013 2:13:58 AM


  12. I don't watch NASCAR, but was excited to see someone I actually have met and sort of know on Towleroad. Stephen, my husband and I worked a little bit against Amendment One last year. Best of luck to a hometown guy!

    Posted by: Jonty Coppersmith | Jul 21, 2013 2:32:46 AM


  13. A sweet guy, I like him.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jul 21, 2013 3:08:12 AM


  14. I hate to say it, but not good.. I've met NASCAR fans, they're the people that make me never want to leave my house again. I commend him for his bravery, but he's in for a ton of irrational idiodic bigotry.

    Posted by: NE1 | Jul 21, 2013 3:30:30 AM


  15. NASCAR isn't bowling or golf. His competitors can very easily kill him, and make it look like an accident.

    Posted by: Merv | Jul 21, 2013 3:44:17 AM


  16. He's not the first, Evan Darling has been out and driving in NASCAR and many other types of races for a while now. I think he was the first gay race car driver that came out, but it's nice to see more of this happening. Good for him!

    Posted by: johnny | Jul 21, 2013 10:06:59 AM


  17. Very cool.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Jul 21, 2013 10:27:49 AM


  18. Have you ever noticed around the gay bars how gay guys drive? This guy must be Bi.

    Posted by: dards | Jul 21, 2013 10:52:11 AM


  19. Sure, there's a real danger of hateful christians killing him.
    On the other hand, we live in the Deep South and nobody has messed with us since 2004.
    I wish him and his partner the best.
    Oh, and I love racing. It's like country music, sure, there's a lot of haters who abuse it to promote their vitriol. Doesn't change the fact that both are high art.

    Posted by: enough already | Jul 21, 2013 10:58:21 AM


  20. Having been to the Indianapolis race once in 1950, I have not watched another because there is no point; It would be like repeatedly watching "Gone With The Wind". It does not change; so why bother?

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Jul 21, 2013 11:22:37 AM


  21. because nothing says "cultured brainiacs" like people who get terribly excited watching cars drive in a circle.
    ;-)


    you're not going to try and change anyone's minds or opinions? thank GOD for everyone else, then.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 21, 2013 11:31:51 AM


  22. Maybe he'll inspire the closeted NASCAR drivers to come out, especially the big name Sprint Cup guys

    Posted by: Les | Jul 21, 2013 1:18:59 PM


  23. God bless him.

    Posted by: Joe in Ct | Jul 21, 2013 1:30:37 PM


  24. If he's been "openly gay" since he was 17, doesn't that mean NASCAR has already had an openly gay driver?

    Or was he "openly" gay such that not enough people knew for any fans, journalists, other drivers, etc. to hear about it?

    Posted by: JamesInCA | Jul 21, 2013 1:51:28 PM


  25. You all should check out ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary "Tim Richmond To The Limit". It deals with an 80s NASCAR driver, the AIDS epidemic, and the attituttudes within NASCAR at the time.

    It's excellent as are all of the 30 for 30 films.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Jul 21, 2013 1:52:23 PM


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