Times are changing, and society is adapting and evolving. People are becoming more tolerant, and, more importantly, more accepting. This obviously isn’t true everywhere, in every community, but in general it seems like differences are more likely to be embraced. But that doesn’t always make it easier for people to share those differences, which is why stories like this one are so uplifting.
It’s no easy thing to come out to the world, not that it’s any of their business, but in the hyper-competitive, often a hyper-masculine world of professional sports, it’s even harder. But that didn’t deter Luke Prokop, a third-round pick for the NHL’s Nashville Predators who’s preparing for his first training camp.
The 19-year-old recently took to Instagram to let everyone know that he is gay, with a brave, heartfelt message.
“Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay,” Prokop said in the post. “From a young age I have dreamed of being an NHL player, and I believe that living my authentic life will allow me to bring my whole self to the rink and improve my chances of fulfilling my dreams,”
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That post has over 100,000 likes and Luke has received an outpouring of support, including from the NHL’s commissioner, who released a statement welcoming the league’s first openly gay player.
— NHL (@NHL) July 19, 2021
Luke’s new team also welcomed him with open arms, and praised his bravery:
All of SMASHVILLE is behind you, Luke.
President/CEO Sean Henry and President of Hockey Operations/GM David Poile’s statements ⤵️
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) July 19, 2021
It’s encouraging to see such an overwhelmingly positive response to something that was nearly unthinkable in the recent past. But Luke now joins NFL player Carl Nassib as proud gay athletes in two of the world’s most intense professional sports, it’s clear that times are changing.
Perhaps the best responses Luke received were the ones that didn’t quite understand why he needed to make an announcement at all:
No one cares, man. 🙂 Hope someday this will not be news.
— Jayteasee (@jayteasee) July 19, 2021
Hopefully, future athletes, and people, won’t need to.