Each week, Outsports stops the clock for an instant reply of the week that was. It’s our way of memorializing the glorious victories, the ignominious defeats, and the players and personalities who made them, lived them or just couldn’t avoid them.
We realize our roster may differ from yours, and we welcome your comments, contributions and critiques. We read them all! Details on how to reach us are below, after our look at this week’s winners and losers.
Winners: The children of Robbie Rogers and his husband Greg Berlanti
Screengrab via Instagram @robbierogers
Love makes a family, and there was never a more perfect proof of that than the birth of Robbie Rogers and Greg Berlanti’s second child, Mia Barbara Rogers-Berlanti. What a cutie!
Rogers, of course, was the first out gay man to play in U.S. men’s major pro sports, now retired from soccer, and Berlanti is the award-winning writer, producer and Hollywood wunderkind behind many of our favorite shows on TV, including “Supergirl,” “The Arrow” and “The Flash.”
The proud papas shared adorable snaps of their small wonder on Instagram for all the world to welcome her to the family alongside big brother Caleb. It wasn’t so long ago that surrogate births were controversial, let alone children being raised by two gay dads. We hope that Mia and Caleb grow up in a world where that’s just another way of parenting.
Loser: Israel Folau and every homophobe who plays sports
This was the last time Israel Folau played for Australia, representing the Waratahs during the round 8 Super Rugby match against the Blues at Eden Park on April 6, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand.Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images
Israel Folau’s name will not go down in history as one of Australia’s greatest rugby players, as it should have. Instead he will forever be known as the superstar who lost it all, because he ignored the second commandment given by his most revered religious icon: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
The devout Christian had been warned to lay off the anti-gay social media posts in 2018, and for almost a year, he did. But come Easter season 2019, Folau shared a “warning” on Instagram to all “sinners,” including gays, that they would burn in hell lest they repent.
Turns out, hell is losing your $4 million contract you just signed for four years, Mr. Folau.
What Rugby Australia did was send a message to homophobes in every sport: you can believe whatever you want to believe, hold opinions of any sort, and express your faith in any manner you wish, so long as you do not trample on the rights and beliefs of others.
That’s why he lost his contract; not because he is a fervent opponent of marriage equality and same-sex love, which is sad but is his right to be, but because he spread hate on a platform shared by millions, including his 362K followers. We are not among them.
Winners: Sports heroes “Being Out”
Joanna Lohman via Facebook
Gay soccer player Joanna Lohman is now retired, but her advocacy and passion for equality are stronger than ever.
Gay tennis player Nick Lee came out a year ago at Vassar College. In his Q&A with Outsports, he stressed the need for LGBTQ visibility in sports and told us why his twin sister so inspires him.
We’re proud to bring you these stories of athletes Being Out, and there are many more to come! Bookmark our series page and visit whenever you’re looking for inspiration.
Loser: Vladimir Putin
It’s hard for us to not admire a world leader who plays hockey, rides horses bare-chested and makes other world leaders look like he’s their puppetmaster. But as megalomaniacal dictators go, Russian President Vladimir Putin was due for a comeuppance. And he got it.
It came in the form of a televised faceplant following an exhibition hockey game on May 10, in which Putin scored five goals and led his team to a 12-7 victory.
The leader who signed an “anti-gay propaganda” law in 2013, who did nothing to stop the persecution, torture and deaths of “suspected gay” men in Chechnya, who campaigned in 2018 by sending the message that voters should reject any leader who supports LGBTQ rights, was waving to cheering fans during a victory lap on the ice. He was so busy looking into the eyes of his adoring comrades that he didn’t see the rug some простофиля placed on the ice, tripped, and landed flat on his face.
Given Putin’s track record, it’s likely the carpet culprit won’t be making that same mistake again. For what he did, we think he’s a winner, but maybe we should make him the real “loser” in this story.
Winner: Jessica Andrade by KO
Rose Namajunas is slammed to the mat in a pile driver move by Jessica Andrade during UFC 237 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on May 11, 2019.Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
Brazil’s Jessica Andrade stunned the crowd at the UFC 237 main event last weekend by slamming defending champ Rose Namajunas of the USA to the mat with a pile driver move that was painful to watch (click here if you dare) but 100% legal.
The gay UFC champ picked up Namajunas and knocked her unconscious, taking home the strawweight title.
An inclusive rugby club in the UK responded to anti-gay bullying on social media directed at its players. Hateful messages appeared on the Hull Roundheads’ page after the team shared photos of its new uniforms, or “kits” as they’re called over there.
“Sadly the derogatory comments on the Hull Live feed only prove that there is a long way to go in this city,” said the chairman of the Roundheads, which accepts gay, bisexual and transgender men.
On a positive note, the haters were countered by many messages of support from the club’s fans.
A long drive south and through the Chunnel, homophobic soccer fans have been put on notice. A new initiative to combat anti-gay chants and slurs in France’s soccer arenas launched on May 17, the International Day against Homophobia.
The French soccer league is instituting a multi-point plan to retaliate against fans found making anti-gay comments or participating in homophobic chants.
Winners: Gay and bi twin brothers Chris and Michael Malpartida of Kentucky
Chris (left) and Michael Malpartida
Chris Malpartida is gay. His twin brother Michael is bi. They both play college soccer and tennis for Berea College in Kentucky. They came out this week in Outsports.
“Since coming out, we have been a lot happier, our mental health has improved tremendously and we have learned to love ourselves,” Chris wrote. “I hope that sharing my coming out story along with that of Michael’s would be empowering for Latino (and non-Latino) gay athletes. But it doesn’t mean the journey was easy.”
Winner: Andy Brennan comes out down under
Andy Brennan #12 of the Newcastle Jets Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
“Being open is the best way for me to feel most comfortable and be myself. So… carry on!” gay soccer player Andy Brennan says.
The pro soccer player for Green Gully came out as gay, a first for the sport outside the U.S.
Brennan joins Collin Martin of USL Championship club Hartford Athletic, on loan from Minnesota United of the MLS, as the only out male pro soccer players.
That’s all for this week! We’ll bring you a fresh list of winners and losers next Saturday. Got a name we missed, or want to challenge our choices? Comment here or on Facebook or Instagram, tweet at us, message us via any social media, or just plain email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!