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04/19/2007


Notre Dame Releases Powerful Video Featuring Gay Tennis Player Matt Dooley and Teammates: VIDEO

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Notre Dame University has released a powerful and inspiring video profiling Matt Dooley, a tennis player who came out of the closet to his coaches and teammates several weeks ago.

In the clip (which is accompanied by an article), Dooley speaks about the struggles he faced being in the closet and also some emotional interviews with his teammate Greg Andrews and head coach about what it means to them to share the experience of his coming out.

Says Dooley: "I started to realize obviously that a lot of it was a problem with me. That I wasn't allowing myself to be successful, and to accept myself, and accept the trust and love of my parents."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via outsports)

Dooley

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Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov Have an Ice Bath Together After the Australian Open: PHOTOS

Dimitrov

After winning their matches at the Australian Open yesterday, world #23 Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (who once enjoyed an on-court strip show with Djokovic) and world #4 Andy Murray made a splash on Twitter when they cozied up in an ice bath together. The 'real-feel' temperatures have been well above 105 degrees on the Melbourne courts.

Tweeted Dimitrov: "@andy_murray! You think he is smiling from joy in the ice bath?"

One more solo shot of Dimitrov, via Facebook, AFTER THE JUMP...

Dimitrov_murray

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Virginia High School Tennis Champ Mikey Drougas Comes Out as Gay, Via Twitter

Mikey Drougas, a senior at Salem High School in western Virginia and the Virginia AA state high school tennis champion (achieved as a junior), came out last week via an inspiring note on Twitter on November 13. (image via roanoke.com)

DrougasHe hasn't had a single negative response, he tells Outsports.

Here's Drougas' note, which he posted in the form of a jpg file, in full (transcript via outsports):

I guess I don't really know how to start this note. Not really even sure why I am writing it to you all. Whatever the motivation, I'm so blessed to say what I am about to on my own terms.

Not fitting stereotypes is nice sometimes. I have been able to avoid a lot of ignorant bullshit growing up. I'm very lucky in that respect. Maybe I feel an obligation to speak up and not stay in the shadows anymore or maybe it's because I am starting to feel comfortable in my own skin. Never in my life have I ever felt truly open or free, through this note I see liberation at the end of the tunnel. That's dope. I wouldn't be the person I am now without the angels who heard my story two years ago and accepted me for who I am. You are always with me as a friendly reminder that it does indeed get better even when darkness is all I see.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Stephen Colbert Volleys with Billie Jean King: VIDEO

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Out tennis legend Billie Jean King rattles Stephen Colbert in a discussion of her 'Battle of the Sexes' match against Bobby Riggs which captivated America in 1973. King is now the subject of an American Masters episode.

Says King: "I always want both genders to champion each other. I just think it's really important. I know it's really idealistic but I don't care. Our job in this world is to help each other and champion each other and we're in this world together so let's make the best of it!"

Colbert also asks her about being in the closet when she was a tennis pro. He asks her if it ever upset her when a line judge, yelled "Out!"

"Yes," she replies.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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With the Kremlin Cup in Moscow in October, Will the WTA Take a Stand Against Russia's Anti-Gay Laws?

Allaster

Towleroad reader Todd Bird sent a letter to Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA, calling on the organization to pull the sanctioning for the Kremlin Cup scheduled for October in Moscow. The letter was published by Sports Illustrated.

KremlincupIt bears repeating, especially given the fear of Russian tennis players to say anything about the country's anti-gay laws at the U.S. Open.

Dear Ms. Allaster,

In light of the recent laws passed and subsequent atrocities being perpetrated against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people in Russia, I call upon the WTA and you as their CEO to take a stand and pull the sanctioning for the Kremlin Cup scheduled for October in Moscow.

The WTA bills itself as a global leader in professional sports and this is their chance to put their money where their mouth is, or more importantly, to take the money away and put the spotlight even brighter on the oppression of LGBT people by the Russian government. As an organization that has consistently been the pioneer for equality in sports world-wide, the WTA needs to stand up for the people who are demoralized, tormented, and silenced by fear of retribution. As the Winter Olympics approach, more attention is being focused on this issue, but it is becoming painfully obvious that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is more interested in quashing the noise and buying into the rhetoric of the Russian government that LGBT athletes and fans of the Sochi Olympics will be "safe" so long as they keep quiet and don't cause a stir. But that is not enough. It appears they only want to ensure there will be no disruptions or stains on their signature event. The IOC (and so far the Olympic committees from other countries) does not appear to want to get their hands dirty with this issue. They may be condemning the law with their words, but turning a blind eye with their actions. And even if the words of the Russian government are true and no LGBT athletes or fans are in danger "that is only for two weeks." What about the other 50 weeks of the year? What about the rest of the country?

Continued, AFTER THE JUMP...

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UC Santa Barbara Tennis Coach Simon Thibodeau: 'I'm Gay'

The NYT profiles the coming out of Santa Barbara's women's tennis team, Simon Thibodeau:

Thibodeau“I’m gay,” he finally said.

There was awkward silence, mostly stemming from surprise. One player applauded. The rest smiled, shrugged and wondered about the summer schedule.

“No one thought it was a big deal,” said Erica Cano, captain of last year’s team and now an assistant coach. “All this big buildup, then: ‘Oh. O.K.’ ”

To Thibodeau’s college players, perhaps, it was not a big deal. But to him, it was a life-altering moment after years of inner turmoil. And to those in college coaching and tennis, Thibodeau’s public pronouncement of homosexuality promises to make him an unassuming pioneer.

“It feels so free,” Thibodeau said. “I’m not hiding anymore. If you ask, I’ll tell.”

According to the newspaper there are just a handful of out NCAA Division 1 head coaches - "Portland State women’s basketball coach, Sherri Murrell; the Kennesaw State men’s (and former women’s) tennis coach, T. J. Greggs; and Kirk Walker, the longtime softball coach at Oregon State, now an assistant at U.C.L.A."

It all makes Thibodeau, 40, a successful college coach with deep ties in international tennis, a candidate to become a public spokesman for barrier breaking in sports and a private counselor to those struggling to make sense of their feelings.


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