By Ellen Chlumecky
In a world where professional and collegiate athletes’ lives are put on display for the rest of the world to see, it becomes harder and harder for these people to keep a secret about themselves private. Secrets especially are hard to keep when one is in the spotlight often. Conor Murphy is one of the few athletes that found it easier to reveal the secret to the rest of his team and the rest of the university, that he was gay.
Conor Murphy is an All-American diver at Indiana University. Conor owns two Big Ten titles and two top-five finishes at the NCAA Championships in platform diving. He finished his sophomore year fifth at NCAAs in platform diving. In 2012, he competed at the Olympic Trials that summer. As a junior, he captured the Big Ten title in platform diving and took third at NCAAs in platform diving. He is also the first Indiana University athlete to say publicly he is gay.
Conor Murphy speaks only positive things about how his teammates and university have been behind him in his coming out. While he has always been comfortable with his identity, his classmates, teammates, and university made him feel even more at ease. Conor expresses how Bloomington is an accepting place, where many different people come from many different places. While he knows not everyone holds these liberal views, he states that everyone is very tolerant and welcoming.
Conor is just one of many gay collegiate athletes in our sports world today. The difference between him and quite a few of them though, is that not all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender student athletes don’t always feel welcome or comfortable with telling others their secret. Playing on any collegiate team requires trust between teammates. When a teammate does not feel comfortable expressing their secret to other teammates in fear of being judged, it affects the individual and the team.
While Conor Murphy’s story is a positive one, not every collegiate or even professional athlete has received open arms when they decided to come out. Conor Murphy and several of his fellow athletes recently stated that they want to be able to teach more confidence to fellow athletes or anyone in general having difficulty coming out. While the world has slowly become more accepting, there are still people out there who are road blocks to people’s happiness. Everyone in the sports world, especially athletes, need to do their best to be welcoming and accepting to their fellow teammates, coaches, or anyone else working in sports when one decides to come out. No one should ever be discouraged to play or work in sports because of their sexual orientation.
All information in this story came from the story “All-American diver and Big Ten champion Conor Murphy celebrates being gay at Indiana.”