30 Nov 2012 1:49 PM


One-Hour Special Produced by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area Debates When Pro Sports
Will Be Ready for an Openly Gay Athlete

Documentary Debuts Saturday, December 8 at 3:00 PM PT on NBC Bay Area,
Re-Airs on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN JOSE, CA (November 30, 2012) – NBC Bay Area, in partnership with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, today announced that The Last Barrier, an in-depth one-hour special examining the personal issues, teammate and locker room acceptance, and team ownership and fan reaction that gay professional athletes face when contemplating coming out during their playing careers, will premiere on Saturday, December 8 at 3 PM PT.

The Last Barrier preview video: http://bit.ly/UvihTD

Throughout the many generations and the tens of thousands of men to have played in the four major American sports leagues – MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL – not a single athlete has come out as gay during their playing days. The Last Barrier, hosted by Comcast SportsNet anchor Dave Feldman (@FeldyCSN), along with CSNBayArea.com’s Senior Insider Ray Ratto (@RattoCSN) and Comcast SportsNet’s MLB analyst Shooty Babitt and former teammate of Glenn Burke, the first openly gay MLB player to come out post-career, discuss and debate the potential for an active gay professional athlete to come out in the near future and whether locker rooms and society are ready for this historic moment.

The Last Barrier provides insightful commentary and interviews with Rick Welts, President and COO, Golden State Warriors; Chris Kluwe, Minnesota Vikings punter; Patrick Burke, co-founder of “You Can Play” and Philadelphia Flyers scout; Dave Kopay, former NFL player; Cyd Zeigler, Jr., co-founder of OutSports.com; and Amani Toomer, Bay Area native, former NFL player and NBC Sports NFL analyst.

After the December 8 debut on NBC Bay Area, The Last Barrier will re-air on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area on Monday, December 10 at 8:30 p.m., Thursday, December 13 at 7 p.m. and Monday, December 17 at 8:30 p.m.

Excerpts from The Last Barrier:

Rick Welts (Warriors President & COO):
On what’s keeping professional athletes from coming out: “I think we’re at a point of time in our society where I think it’s inevitable. That step will be taken. I think it’ll be ‘What took so long’ at that point. But it’ll be a tremendously courageous thing for a pro athlete, especially if they are at the peak of their career, to take that step”.

Chris Kluwe (Vikings punter):
On if an NFL locker room is ready for on openly gay player: “I think if someone were to come out as openly gay, it would be tough for them. But I think they would have a lot more support than they’d realize. Like I said, a lot of the younger generation coming up in the NFL realize it’s not about your sexuality; it’s not about who you want to marry. It’s about how can you help this team win on Sunday.”

Patrick Burke (Co-Founder of the ‘You Can Play’ and Flyers scout):
On when he expects to see an openly gay player in the NHL: “I think we’ll have an openly gay player in the next two years. I think the response ‘You Can Play’ has gotten from the players and the media proves to the closeted gay players that we know we have in the league, that our league is ready for it.”

Amani Toomer (NFL veteran and NBC Sports NFL analyst):
On whether the first NFL gay athlete to come out is a superstar versus a role player: “I think if it was a superstar player, people would be that much more accepting. If you’re a superstar player and you’re helping the team win, and you’re the face of the franchise, and you come out gay, I don’t think that would change your position at all. He’ll be the exact same person in terms of the players; you’ll be the exact same person in terms of the fans, because ultimately at the end of the day, all people want to see is their team win. I don’t think fans care about the sexual orientation of players, and I don’t think the players in the locker room care about sexual orientation. It’s all about winning.”

Cyd Zeigler, Jr., (Co-Founder of OutSports.com):
On the reaction of an active professional athlete coming out: “What’s amazing is how many people think it’s going to be hard for a professional athlete to come out of the closet. Every shred of evidence when we talk to the media and we talk to the fans, team executives, Fortune 500 companies, every single one of them says ‘I’m good with this.’ I think we’re going to look back a month after it happens and say ‘Wow, this is incredible, not what I expected.’”

On the myth straight athletes are homophobic: “I’ve talked to two dozen NFL players over the last year and every single one of them not only expressed support for gay athletes but they talked about their gay brothers, sisters, cousins. This idea that the locker room is this horrible, homophobic place is just not true anymore.”

About NBC Owned Television Stations
NBC Owned Television Stations is the division of NBCUniversal that includes 10 local television stations and their digital channels and websites, as well as a group of out-of-home properties and a production company. The 10 stations produce and deliver compelling and unique local news, information and entertainment programming to viewers in the communities they serve, which include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., Miami, San Diego and Connecticut, with a goal of connecting to their audiences anytime and anywhere.

About NBC Sports Group
NBC Sports Regional Networks, part of the NBC Sports Group, consists of 13 local networks that deliver more than 2,400 sporting events annually, along with breaking news and comprehensive analysis, to more than 50 million cable and satellite homes. The NBC Sports Regional Networks are: Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, Comcast SportsNet California, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Comcast SportsNet Houston, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Comcast SportsNet New England, Comcast SportsNet Northwest, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, CSS and SNY. NBC Sports Regional Networks also manages NECN (New England Cable News), the nation’s largest regional news network, and The Comcast Network, based in Philadelphia and Washington, which delivers community-oriented programming. For more information, see ComcastSportsNet.com.



For more information contact:

Liza Catalan
NBC Bay Area
e: Liza.Catalan@nbcuni.com

Jay dela Cruz
e: jdelacruz@comcastsportsnet.com