This past May, ESPN radio sportscaster Jared Max came out during a live broadcast the same week the sports world saw former Villanova basketball player Will Sheridan and Phoenix Suns President Rick Welts do the same. CNN's Don Lemon also came out that week.
Fresh off the euphoric high he is experiencing from his coming out, Max and I had a lengthy discussion about what the process has been like for him so far. Appropriately enough, Max describes the day he came out as "kind of like a new birthday."
SP: What's the fan reaction been so far?
JM: 98.9 percent positive.
SP: And the remaining 1.1 percent?
JM: "I've read some stupid comments that people have written underneath news stories. People go off on their comments. You know, I've heard from enough straight guys tell me, 'it took unbelievable balls to do what you did.' That only underlines the fact that people who write little comments on a page who don't have a profile up there and just have some screen handle. That's the total opposite, so what do I care about the peanut gallery? I read some great, great quote in some book which said, and I don't have the book in front of me so I'm going to paraphrase it, but it's along the lines of, 'Does the moon stop shining because some dogs bark at?' It's kind of been like that. As far as negative, nothing negative. It opened up a fantastic conversation between my father and I that was a little breakthrough in our relationship. My dad's known about me for 15 years or so. We're definitely in a better place now as a result of this all coming through. Me having a long conversation with my dad. He and I are in a real good spot. We didn't really talk about it. We kind of really had some real good breakthrough as a result of this."
SP: How does he feel about all of the press you've been had recently?
JM: "I think he was probably concerned. He's from a different generation. My dad is 64, I'm 37. Let's say for years my dad gets a call from a friend who would say to him, "Hey I heard your son on the radio", this and that and I'm sure it makes my dad happy, a father would be proud of his son. But I don't know how he would feel if all of a sudden he would get a phone call that was 'hey, I didn't even know your son was gay' or 'did you know?' I imagine those type of phone calls would probably be more difficult. So I was compassionate toward the situation and he never said to me that there was anything wrong with it. He wasn't proud of me or anything like that but I now feel like he's proud of me not only for having been successful with what I've done in my career to this point but proud of me for who I am. I've shared a lot of emails with him from things that people have sent me on Facebook where's gotten to see first-hand just the importance of this and the effect that this is having on people and I think it makes him very proud. His son is effecting people's lives in a very positive way."
The rest of the interview, AFTER THE JUMP.