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Tag:Rick Welts
Posted on: September 26, 2011 10:16 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 10:20 pm
 

Warriors name Rick Welts President and COO

Posted by Royce Young

Just a few weeks after resigning his post as President and CEO of the Phoenix Suns, Rick Welts has been named the Warriors' new President and Chief Operating Officer.

It's a bit of a curious move as Welts resigned his position with the Suns because of a personal issue. Via the Arizona Republic, Welts said he wasn't leaving for another job, but another city. Welts, who announced he is gay over the summer, has a new relationship in Sacramento. (Sacramento is not where the Warriors play, obviously.)

Welts said at the time, "The most important thing for me is to get my personal and professional lives better aligned. They've probably never been aligned. I'm 58 years old and it's time to do that.

"This isn't one of those departures to see greener pastures. It really is completely a personal situation. These guys have been tremendously accommodating and any other inference than that is absolutely crazy."

A bit curious, I have to say. Obviously I don't know the details and I'm not going to speculate, but it's hard not to raise an eyebrow.

Welts said in a press release, "It’s hard to express how excited I am to embrace this opportunity and be part of a collective group in building the Warriors into a championship caliber organization. I’ve been most impressed with Joe Lacob and Peter Guber’s vision and desire to do something great. Not good, but great. Many of the ingredients are here – the Warriors’ rich history, the team’s amazing fan support and the strength of the Bay Area as a sports market. We have a lot of work to do and I can’t wait to get started.”

Maybe it was an offer he couldn't refuse. Who knows. But it's hard not to wonder. He seemed to really try and hammer home that he wasn't leaving for another job. And yet 17 days after resigning, he's taken a new job.

Other than the big news he made months ago, Welts is probably most famously known for being the mind behind the NBA's All-Star Weekend as well as a primary promoter of the 1992 Olympic "Dream Team." (Welts is credited with coming up with the name.) He is also credited with being a major part of the WNBA's creation in 1996.

Welts has been with the Suns since 2002 and was primarily in charge of boosting ticket sales and relieving then general manager Jerry Colangelo of some of his day-to-day business duties.
Posted on: September 9, 2011 2:40 pm
 

Suns President and CEO Rick Welts resigns

Posted by Royce Young

About four months ago, Phoenix Suns President and CEO Rick Welts shocked everyone by publicly announcing that he's gay. Now, he's pulling another stunner by resigning his position, via the Arizona Republic.

His reason: He wants to focus on his personal life more.

Welts told The Arizona Republic Friday morning that he is not leaving for another job but to be in another city. In the past year, Welts started a new relationship and his partner is in Sacramento. He plans to do speaking engagements and perhaps take an offer to write a book.

"The most important thing for me is to get my personal and professional lives better aligned," Welts said. "They've probably never been aligned. I'm 58 years old and it's time to do that.

"This isn't one of those departures to see greener pastures. It really is completely a personal situation. These guys have been tremendously accommodating and any other inference than that is absolutely crazy."

Suns' general counsel Jason Rowley will replace Welts on an interim basis and also will be a candidate in the team's national search for a replacement.

Other than the big news he made months ago, Welts is probably most famously known for being the mind behind the NBA's All-Star Weekend as well as a primary promoter of the 1992 Olympic "Dream Team." (Welts is credited with coming up with the name.) He is also credited with being a major part of the WNBA's creation in 1996.

Welts has been with the Suns since 2002 and was primarily in charge of boosting ticket sales and relieving then general manager Jerry Colangelo of some of his day-to-day business duties.
Category: NBA
Posted on: May 29, 2011 12:34 am
Edited on: May 30, 2011 7:15 am
 

Steve Nash: A gay NBA player would be no big deal

Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash says it wouldn't be a big deal if an NBA player revealed himself to be gay. Posted by Ben Golliver. steve-nash

No question about it: The Phoenix Suns have been at the forefront of advocating tolerance toward and acceptance of homosexuals in the past month.

Suns forwards Grant Hill and Jared Dudley released a public service announcement warning kids against using the word "gay" in a negative way. Suns guard Steve Nash issued a video testimony in favor of a New York gay marriage proposition. And, of course, Suns president Rick Welts revealed that he was gay, becoming the first male major professional sports executive to do so, saying that he hoped to serve as an example for younger people.

In an interview with The New York Times on Saturday, Nash was asked directly whether the NBA is ready for an openly gay active player.
If a player in the locker room came out, it would come and go quickly, too. I really don’t think it’s a big issue anymore. I think it would be surprisingly accepted, and a shorter shelf life than maybe we would imagine. I think the time has come when it should happen soon. I think it will be something that won’t take on this life of its own. It won’t be the O. J. trial.
Nash's comments are similar to those made recently by commentator and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, who said that every NBA player has played with gay teammates and that he cares far more about a player's ability level than a player's sexuality.  

Is Nash correct in his analysis?

There is definitely some logic to the "shorter shelf life" line of thinking. Controversies and hot button issues seem to come and go must faster these days than they did even two or three years ago, as the latest rumor or gossip of the day is always pressing fast to make today's news outdated.

It's impossible to know if Nash has accurately gauged the tolerance of the NBA climate until a player does come out. But his honest and straightforward comments, which read as accepting and understanding, only help break the taboo of what has long been seen as a dicey or uncomfortable situation. 

Posted on: May 23, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2011 5:40 pm
 

Steve Nash supports gay marriage in NY video

Steve Nash and the Human Rights Campaign issue a video in public support of a gay marriage proposition in New York. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Homosexuality and gay rights have leaped to the forefront of the public discourse surrounding the NBA in recent weeks. 

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On Monday, Phoenix Suns All-Star guard Steve Nash added his voice to the discussion, by partnering with the Human Rights Campaign, a group that lobbies for equal rights, to release a video spot in support of a gay and lesbian marriage rights proposition in New York state.  

In the spot, Nash looks into the camera to make a personal appeal to his fellow New Yorkers. "Hi, I'm Steve Nash," he begins. "I spend my summers in New York and I love playing at the Garden. A growing number of professional athletes are speaking out in support of gay and lesbian couples getting married. I'm proud to be one of them."

The video then cuts to a graphic that reads: "New Yorkers support full marriage equality. Do you?"

Then Nash concludes: "Join me and the supermajority of New Yorkers who support marriage equality."

Here's a look at the video.



The spot comes at a time of peak interest around the NBA.

Rick Welts, the president of the Suns, publicly revealed that he is gay recently. Charles Barkley said that all NBA players have played with gay teammates. Grant Hill and Jared Dudley filmed a public service announcement about how harmful the word "gay" can be when used in a derogatory manner. Kobe Bryant and Joakim Noah have been caught on camera using gay slurs, sparking a discussion about the use of such language.

Steve Avery of the New York Rangers filmed a similar spot recently and drew criticism from some circles. ESPNNY.com reported that Avery's experience, as well as Welts' decision, led Nash to participate in the campaign.
Nash had been considering appearing in the video for months. According to HRC vice president of communications Fred Sainz, the NBA star ultimately timed the release to support Welts and New York Rangers forward Sean Avery, who experienced a backlash among hockey fans after making a similar video. NHL player agent Todd Reynolds called Avery's support for the issue "misguided." Many anonymous commenters on message boards harshly criticized Avery for his support of the proposition, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has advanced. Cuomo is hoping for a vote by legislators in June.
When Bryant was fined $100,000 for his comments, NBA commissioner David Stern made his position on the issue clear: “Kobe Bryant’s comment during last night’s game was offensive and inexcusable. While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated. Accordingly, I have fined Kobe $100,000. Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society."
Posted on: May 17, 2011 12:52 pm
 

Barkley: 'Every player has played with gay guys'

Charles Barkley says that every NBA player has played with gay teammates. Posted by Ben Golliver. charles-barkley

On Sunday, we noted that Phoenix Suns president Rick Welts revealed to the New York Times that he is a homosexual, becoming the first prominent male professional sports team executive to do so. 

In the article, Welts stated: "This is one of the last industries where the subject is off limits. Nobody’s comfortable in engaging in a conversation.”

One person who is comfortable engaging in every conversation is TNT broadcaster and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley. The Washington Post reports that Barkley says that he played alongside gay players and that he believes the NBA is more ready for a current player to follow Welts' lead and come out than most people think.
“First of all, every player has played with gay guys. It bothers me when I hear these reporters and jocks get on TV and say, ‘Oh, no guy can come out in a team sport. These guys would go crazy.’ First of all, quit telling me what I think. I’d rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can’t play.”

“Any professional athlete who gets on TV or radio and says he never played with a gay guy is a stone-freakin’ idiot,” Barkley said. “I would even say the same thing in college. Every college player, every pro player in any sport has probably played with a gay person."

Also weary of the perception that a majority of straight male athletes are intensely homophobic, Barkley said gay players pose no problem, adding, “Man, we need to outlaw guys who suck at sports.”
Although delivered unconventionally as always, Barkley's point stands. Talent is always going to be the most important determining factor in a highly competitive field like professional sports. That homosexual players have, to this point, chosen the lesser of two evils by remaining anonymous makes sense. That's how it's always been.

But does it feel like we're turning a corner here? Barkley's honesty is important and the support shown to Welts by other media members, including Bill Simmons, helps frame his decision to come forward as an important milestone on a longer path towards acknowledged, public equality.

Does public support for Welts and honest conversation about the life he was living make it easier for a current player to step forward? One would think so.
Category: NBA
Posted on: May 15, 2011 4:57 pm
Edited on: May 15, 2011 5:47 pm
 

Rick Welts, Suns president, reveals he is gay

Phoenix Suns president Rick Welts reveals he is a homosexual in a New York Times article. Posted by Ben Golliver. rick-welts

Rick Welts, the president of the Phoenix Suns and a long-time NBA employee, publicly revealed that he is a homosexual for the first time in an article in the New York Times on Sunday.

Welts says he lived in secrecy for decades because of the stigma attached to homosexuality in the world of professional sports.
“This is one of the last industries where the subject is off limits,” said Mr. Welts. “Nobody’s comfortable in engaging in a conversation.”
ESPN.com.com reports that Welts' admission makes him a trailblazer, noting that he is "believed to be the first man in a prominent position in men's sports who has declared his homosexuality."
So why, after all these years, did Welts decide to come forward? The Times writes... 
Mr. Welts explained that he wants to pierce the silence that envelops the subject of homosexuality in men’s team sports. He wants to be a mentor to gay people who harbor doubts about a sports career, whether on the court or in the front office. Most of all, he wants to feel whole, authentic. 

Perhaps the most illuminating aspect of this admission is that two prominent NBA figures -- NBA commissioner David Stern and Phoenix Suns All-Star guard Steve Nash -- both were well aware of Mr. Welts' homosexuality but had not discussed it with him directly. In Stern's case, he showed silent, indirect support. In Nash's case, he simply thought everyone already knew that Welts was gay. That both of those reactions existed shows just how complicated living his life in silence must have been for Welts.

While he has risen to the top of his profession, Welts likely still felt like an outsider in a very personal way. Stern commented that he hoped "the world will find this [admission] unremarkable," but clearly this will be a remarkable moment for Welts himself.

It wouldn't be surprising at all if his admission, and the peace of mind it will likely provide going forward, inspires other executives in similar situations to come forward.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com