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In case you haven’t heard, legendary Boston Herald sportswriter and WEEI personality Steve Buckley announced on Thursday that he is gay. The column appeared on Page 6 of the Thursday Herald with teases on the front and back pages, and the Boston Herald’s website also featured Buck’s coming-out column on the homepage.
“It’s my hope that from now on I’ll be more involved. I’m not really sure what I mean by being “involved,” but this is a start: I’m gay,” said Buckley to close his column.
As you may know, Buck tends to get stuck telling tangent stories whether he’s writing, on the radio, or on TV, but in his column on Thursday, he stuck to his story, explaining why he came out now and why he took so long to do so. Let’s face it: while we as a society have made tremendous strides in equality, coming out of the closet is still very difficult. I can’t imagine the pressure Buck must have faced. He knew he wanted to come out, but he didn’t know when the time was right.
Seven years ago, his mother encouraged him to come out publicly. It’s much easier said than done of course; it’s not every day that you see a sportswriter in a major market announce that he is gay. Due to his mother’s unfortunate death soon after her encouragement, Buck made a point to eventually pen the “coming-out” column. But, things kept coming up and he kept pushing it aside, and understandably so. It’s a very difficult thing to do. Now, due to recent suicides across the U.S. due to gay bashing or a person being outed, Buck felt it was time to step up.
Over the past couple of months I have discussed the coming-out process with my family and a few friends, and have had sit-downs with Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca and sports editor Hank Hryniewicz, as well as with WEEI’s Glenn Ordway. They’ve been great, as have my friends and family.
But during this same period, I have read sobering stories about people who came undone, killing themselves after being outed. These tragic events helped guide me to the belief that if more people are able to be honest about who they are, ultimately fewer people will feel such devastating pressure.
Ordway was in Buck’s corner the whole time, and that’s no surprise considering they’re close friends. Buck regularly fills in on WEEI’s “The Big Show,” and he did so on Thursday to answer questions about the column. While he knows it won’t change how he feels about Buckley, “The Big O” told Herald writer Jessica Heslam that he worries about how Buck may be perceived in the locker room.
“My gut feeling is, you’re probably going to get some immature, young player somewhere down the line who’s going to get (angry) because Buck criticizes him,” Ordway said. “And he’s going to reach for the easiest way that he can get back at Buckley and call him a name or something like that.”
Hey may or may not get criticized by a local athlete, but Buckley said he did receive an outpouring from Boston sports figures on Thursday, with Terry Francona, Theo Epstein, Robert Kraft, Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis, among otthers, offering their support.
With all that said: good for you, Buck. You have my support, and I’m willing to guess you have the support of most of the people connected to sports in the city.