Scott Norton, Craig Woodward
In what OutSports calls a possible first, ESPN showed an openly gay athlete kissing his husband on TV this Sunday. After Scott Norton won the 2012 PBA Chameleon Championship in November, the professional bowler broke down in tears before hugging and kissing his husband, Craig Woodward.
Throughout the broadcast, the event's announcers also repeatedly referred to the couple as married.
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"Our airing of Scott Norton's spontaneous moment with his husband was about capturing the emotion of the victory, as we would with any bowler celebrating with his or her family," Marcia Keegan, ESPN's vice president of production, told Mashable in a statement.
This is a huge move forward for acceptance of gay marriage and homosexuality in sports, which is notoriously behind other mainstream media and even the political world. As of now, no active athlete in a major sport, such as the NFL, NBA, NHL or major leagues, has come out as gay.
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Though many athletes have come out in support of gay marriage and LGBTQ rights, there are still many in the sports community who aren't on board with an out teammate. Only a few days ago, Detroit Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter told the Los Angeles Times that as a Christian, an openly gay teammate would make him "uncomfortable."
And while a bowling championship might not be the Super Bowl, ESPN's decision to air Norton's kiss is an important move in the right direction. Watch the touching moment at the 2:10 mark below.