What's buzzing:

Yahoo! Sports Blogs

Changing times: ESPN shows bowling champion kissing his husband

The Turnstile

Watch closely in the video above, and you'll see a small but important step forward in the world of sports: what may well be the first instance of a broadcast of an openly gay male pro athlete kissing his husband while celebrating. And it's played as if nothing unusual had happened ... which, of course, is exactly the case.

Our story: Scott Norton was competing in the 2012 Professional Bowling Association's Chameleon Championship on Sunday. He won in dramatic fashion over Jason Belmonte, and was overcome with emotion as he'd devoted his tournament to a recently-deceased friend. Afterward, Norton embraced and kissed husband Craig Woodward. Throughout the broadcast, as Outsports notes, ESPN had referred to Woodward as the "husband" or "spouse" of Norton. Again, no big deal.

Norton is a two-time champion, and he came out in 2011, soon after being named the PBA's Rookie of the Year. As he said when he announced he was gay, he was inspired by Phoenix Suns CEO and President Rick Welts, who also announced his orientation last year.

"It is extremely important for me to come out to show other gay athletes, both current and future, that it is important to come out to show that we are just like everyone else," he said at the time. "Being gay doesn’t define who I am as a person or as a professional athlete. I'm also a professional bowler, lawyer, caring, compassionate, strong, and many other things. It's important to show people that being gay has nothing to do with one's ability to do anything as a man, least of all compete at the highest level of sports."

Look, there is absolutely no reason why an athlete's sexual orientation should be a big deal, but for many, it still is. The fact, though, that ESPN can refer to and show a gay couple acting every bit as routine in their happiness as a straight one is, in some small way, progress. We're still a ways from a professional athlete in one of the nation's top sports coming out, but the day is getting closer. And "isn't it amazing that we can be tolerant?" articles like this one will hopefully be a thing of the past.

-Email Jay Busbee here and follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-

Related NFL video from Yahoo! Sports


Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:

Norv Turner takes shot at San Diego on his way out the door
Kobe Bryant blames 'old' Lakers for latest loss
Young fan dons mohawk and blackface to meet soccer star
ThePostGame: Sporting goods store mocks Tim Tebow

View Comments (943)
  • Texans take preseason win over Saints 27-13

    Texans take preseason win over Saints 27-13

    Brian Hoyer sounded pleased about his first game as the Houston Texans' designated starter. Ryan Mallett, meanwhile, looked determined not to let his disappointment linger over his relegation to a backup role. Hoyer led scoring drives on two of … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 minutes ago
  • No excuses for not winning World T20 in India, says Warner

    No excuses for not winning World T20 in India, says Warner

    Australia will not use Indian conditions as an excuse if they fail to win the World T20 in the subcontinent next year, opening batsman David Warner has said. Australia have never won the tournament despite being a power in tests and the one-day … More »

    Reuters - 9 minutes ago
  • Cubs' Arrieta has no-hitter through 7

    Cubs' Arrieta has no-hitter through 7

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs has a no-hitter going against the Los Angeles Dodgers through seven innings. … More »

    AP - Sports - 12 minutes ago
  • Carter responds to the pressure, ready to shine at World Cup

    By Greg Stutchbury WELLINGTON (Reuters) - It would have been inconceivable to many four years ago that twice World Player of the Year Dan Carter would have to prove himself ahead of a World Cup but All Blacks coach Steve Hansen insists rugby's … More »

    Reuters - 19 minutes ago
  • Golf-Race to Dubai rankings

    Aug 31 (Infostrada Sports) - Race to Dubai rankings 1. Rory McIlroy (Britain) 3012000 2. Danny Willett (Britain) 2648805 3. Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa) 2559207 4. Justin Rose (Britain) 2238276 5. Branden Grace (South Africa) 2121956 6. … More »

    Reuters - 22 minutes ago