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 #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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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