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New playbook: How to come out in sports

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The sports world is going through a great deal of changes in its acceptance of LGBT athletes. More and more competitors make the decision to come out which positively impacts visibility of LGBT athletes in all sports and on all levels of competition.  As athletes decide to come out, it is important that they are equipped with strategies on how to do so most successfully. Although every athlete is unique and might have different circumstances, there are several approaches that could make coming out as an athlete easier.

As the Associated Press reports, one of such tactics is coming out as early in the offseason as possible. As every athlete is aware of, being in season is an incredibly demanding time emotionally and physically. As Cyd Zeigler, the co-founder of the website Outsports recommends "Minimizing the distraction to your teammates is super important," Zeigler said. "I recommend to everyone, 'Don't do it in the middle in the season.'"

As the football protégé and an NFL hopeful Michael Sam was in the process of coming out, Howard Bragman, a public relations expert helped with the logistics. As an expert in helping athletes come out for the last 23 years, Bragman offers tips with athletes planning to come out:

—Break the news before anyone else does, and don't feel obligated to repeat your story. Choose wisely how you tell it and whom you tell it to, because the first stories will define the narrative.

—Anticipate tough questions and answer them in a truthful yet consistent, controlled way.

—Define yourself in well-rounded terms, to make clear that being gay is only one facet of who you are.

—Get back to work.

But one of the most important tips is to stay focused on the sport. It is imperative that athletes continue to better their game and strive for victory.

Make sure to support Michael Sam in the NFL draft from May 8-10 as he is poised to be the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL. . Send a message on Twitter: I'll be cheering for Michael Sam during the #NFLDraft2014. NFL Draft May 8-10 #SamFans http://www.glaad.org/samfans

 

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