Strike! ESPN Airs Gay Pro Bowler Kissing Husband
Last weekend, ESPN showed an out-professional bowler hugging and kissing his husband after winning a prestigious bowling tournament, Out Sports reported.
Scott Norton, 30, placed a wet one on his husband Craig Woodward, 37, after winning the 2012 PBA Chameleon Championship in Las Vegas. During the event, which was held in November but wasn’t broadcast until Dec. 30, ESPN’s announcers call Woodward Norton’s husband. This was probably the first time an out athlete has been shown embracing his partner on a major network.
Norton, who defeated 2011 champion Jason Belmonte, married Woodward, a United Healthcare executive, on Oct. 22, 2011, in California.
"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 in a statement. "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."
According to the Windy City Times, Norton, who is also an attorney, joined the Professional Bowlers Association in 2008. A year later, he was named the PBA West Region Rookie of the Year. In 2010, he won his first PBA Tour title, the PBA Championship.
He had already out to friends and family when he was a teenager. He only announced he is gay in the bowling world, often considered a blue-collar activity, in April 2012.
Norton called the PBA "the most wonderful experience I could ever ask for, competing against the best players in the world. It makes it all the better that the vast majority are indifferent, if not supportive, of me being an out gay man on tour. I came out when I was 18.
"At the beginning," he added, "it wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t great either. My parents were somewhat supportive, and most of my friends were either accepting or openly supportive. As time has gone on, everyone in my life [has been] incredibly supportive."
The out-gay bowling blogger who calls himself JW, wrote on his website that he was happy ESPN’s announcers decided to "step into the 21st century and treat Scott’s homosexuality as just a matter of fact and not a sensation.
"The focus was upon how well he was playing," he added. "They did mention that Scott came out after his win in 2011 during the telecast. His accomplishment is notable because this is his second win and that makes him a rising star on the PBA tour, who happens to be gay and married to a man. Just good stuff all around."
Watch the footage of Norton and Woodward below: