By Ken Reed
Micah Porter, a legendary high school track and cross country coach in Colorado, recently announced he’s gay, the first Coloradoan and one of only a handful of gay prep coaches nationally to have taken that step.
Porter’s teams have won four Colorado state championships and he has coached 33 athletes to individual state titles. He has been named Jefferson County (CO) coach-of-the-year 12 times and Colorado state coach of the year once. He’s also been named teacher of the year at D’Evelyn High School, where he teaches in the social studies department and is one of the school’s most popular teachers.
“For the first time in my life, I have a level of happiness and confidence that I have never had,” said Porter. “It’s a leap, and I don’t know where I’m going to land. But I’m in a much better place and happier.”
Porter’s announcement adds to a growing list of positive developments in the battle to eradicate homophobia in sports. This past spring, NBA player Jason Collins came out in a Sports Illustrated cover story. Also, over the course of the last year, many prominent athletes and coaches have publicly aligned with advocacy organizations for LGBT athletes and coaches such as Athlete Ally (See League of Fans article) and You Can Play.
Porter struggled with his decision for several years, suffering from depression during the process.
“I just didn’t have a gay model to go off of, I had no gay friends. … I just decided it was time to break through,” Porter said.
His athletes took the news well.
“Everything is exactly the same as it used to be,” said Jaguars senior Carter Prescott, who is a contender to win the Jefferson County cross country title. “He has always been a role model. He came out and we admired him even more, with all of the strength it takes to deal with it …. He’s just a role model.”
It takes courage for all of us to be true to ourselves. The amount of courage required of gays and lesbians to live authentically in our society is even greater. Now that he’s out and feeling more confident, happy, and energized than he has in years, Porter wants to help and educate others.
“I intend to use this new energy to help athletes and coaches who are struggling with their sexuality as well as educate others about the necessity to be compassionate and tolerant of others different from themselves,” said Porter.
Now that’s an honorable and important mission; helping other athletes and coaches throw off the shackles of an inauthentic life so that they can experience the freedom of being who they are at their core. Porter will be working with the You Can Play project on this educational effort.
“For the first time in a long time, I’ve had people tell me I look happy. For the first time in a long time, I am,” said Porter.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered and got to know well, like Muhammad Ali, as well as his relationships with fellow sports journalists like Bob Costas and Howard Cosell.
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Episode #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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