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 #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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