http://www.tmz.com/2013/08/15/darren-yo ... rstar-gay/
Darren Young: American WWE star comes out as gay
American wrestler tells TMZ: 'I'm a WWE Superstar and to be honest with you … I'll tell you right now that I'm gay'
theguardian.com, Thursday 15 August 2013 17.10 BST
WWE Superstar Darren Young Comes Out -- I'm Gay - Watch More Celebrity Videos or Subscribe
American pro wrestler Darren Young is the latest high-profile athlete to announce that he is gay after coming out to a papparazo during an impromptu interview.
When asked by a TMZ photographer early Thursday morning whether a gay wrestler could be successful within the World Wrestling Entertainment community, Young responded quickly.
"Absolutely! Look at me," Young tells the photographer. "I'm a WWE Superstar and to be honest with you … I'll tell you right now that I'm gay."
Along with footballer Robbie Rogers and veteran NBA player Jason Collins, New Jersey native Young, 29, is joining a tiny group of male American sports stars who have openly discussed being gay and the career risks involved with coming out in professional sports. Rogers has since said that football culture has impeded other athletes from coming out, while Collins remains a free agent.
For its part, WWE released a statement Thursday: "WWE is proud of Darren Young for being open about his sexuality, and we will continue to support him as a WWE Superstar."
Though less visible in mainstream American sports culture since its heyday in the 1980s, WWE is still a moneymaking corporation, amassing $659m in 2012 and reaching roughly 14m viewers in the US each week, a great majority of whom are male.
But for all its macho leanings, pro wrestling is a decidedly flamboyant sport. Its biggest stars tend to be heavily muscled and in peak physical condition, but it pays to have a flair for acting; many of the wrestling moves, plot lines, hits and falls are planned well in advance. For this reason, WWE stars are equally as defined by their interest in elaborate costumes and over-the-top theatrics as by their commitment to exuding overly macho behavior.
WWE fans have pointed out Young is not the first WWE athlete to say he's gay: that distinction belongs to 1996 WWE hall of fame inductee Pat Patterson, from Montreal.
"I'm hoping to be able to make a difference, you know," Young told TMZ. "It's very important to me that people understand that somebody's sexual preference shouldn't really matter."
As the news broke Thursday, fan reactions on social media were mixed:
The probably uncool opinion: I support Darren Young but I think his career would be better off w/o the announcement. That's life.
— xmastreelites (@xmastreelites) August 15, 2013
I am over the moon thrilled that Darren Young has come out. We have so few gay role models in wrestling, and now we have a new hero.
— Cewsh Reviews (@CewshReviews) August 15, 2013
So much respect for Darren Young coming out and saying he's gay, maybe now other athletes will feel as if they can as well
— #TeamAJ (@ellsloveswwe) August 15, 2013
But least one of Young's colleagues has already expressed support, and has hinted that Young's sexuality wasn't a suprise.
“Oh wonderful,” WWE world champion John Cena told TMZ hours later. “I know Darren personally. Darren’s a great guy. That’s a very bold move for him. And congratulations for him for actually finally doing it.”