On Could 19, 2011, ESPN 1050 radio host Jared Max was wrapping up his morning present in New York when he suddenly announced that he was gay. Whereas there had been different outstanding sports activities figures to take action at this level, we nonetheless weren’t at some extent the place LGBTQ+ individuals might anticipate to be celebrated on this planet of sports activities (maybe we’re nonetheless not?). Doing so was a significant threat, particularly within the aggro world of sports activities radio.
You possibly can take heed to the seven-plus minute announcement right here:
On the time, Max advised his viewers that “I’m taking this brave leap into the unknown having no thought how I will likely be perceived.” Ten years later, Max says his solely remorse was not saying it publicly sooner.
“I bear in mind doing it pondering, ‘ what? I’m allowed to inform this story,’” Max recently told Alex Reimer on The Sports Kiki podcast.
“Earlier than I got here out, I feel I used to be failing,” Max said. “Impulsively, turning into a chat present host wasn’t working. However as soon as I used to be trustworthy with the viewers about who I’m, I noticed, ‘Okay, now I can discuss and I can react at work.’”
On the time, Max was an up-and-coming radio character who had simply jumped from WCBS-AM to ESPN Radio. Whereas he actually might have continued on that path with out making his sexuality public, the choice to return out ultimately grew to become too robust to disclaim. The tipping level was, of all issues, studying an interview that Charles Barkley had recently done about gay teammates.
“(Barkley) was an enormous, essential voice,” Max mentioned. “Individuals don’t all the time notice, however generally you can also make an innocuous remark that may hurt someone, however you can even make a remark — that even Charles Barkley didn’t know — can change someone’s life.”
Right here’s what Barkley said at the time:
“To start with, each participant has performed with homosexual guys,” Barkley advised 106.7 The Fan, including that any participant who says he hasn’t is “a stone-freakin’ fool.”
“It bothers me once I hear these reporters and jocks get on TV and say: ‘Oh, no man can come out in a group sport. These guys would go loopy.’ To start with, give up telling me what I feel. I’d slightly have a homosexual man who can play than a straight man who can’t play,” Barkley mentioned.
Barkley mentioned he by no means apprehensive about awkward conditions involving homosexual teammates, as a result of “[It] doesn’t work like that.”
“A man isn’t going to place himself in that state of affairs in an expert locker room,” Barkley advised the station. “It by no means crossed my thoughts, and I by no means felt any completely different in regards to the man.”
That, coupled with different outstanding sports activities figures corresponding to NBA Corridor of Fame govt Rick Welts saying comparable issues, gave Max the impetus he wanted to return out.
What was it like to return out of the closet on a reside sports activities discuss present 10 years in the past? It wouldn’t have occurred then with out the act of braveness by Basketball Corridor of Famer @RickWelts ? Thanks @JonSchwartz1 for internet hosting this particular Sports activities Mentoring Undertaking. WATCH THIS SHORT CLIP https://t.co/edoD1z5hgr
— Jared Max (@Jared_Max) May 17, 2021
Max has been a sports activities reporter for FOX Information Headlines 24/7 since 2015 and makes appearances on Fox Information and Fox Enterprise to debate the tales he reviews on.
— Jared Max (@Jared_Max) May 19, 2021
As for whether or not or not he has any regrets in regards to the announcement past wishing he’d accomplished it sooner, he has none.
“You begin small, however it’s a leap off the diving board,” he mentioned. “However in my expertise and looking out again 10 years later, it’s the identical factor as I felt that day. ‘God, that was simple.’”