Openly Gay Rick Welts (former NBA) Talks Gay and Nike Dollars

NIKE is poised to give the first openly gay pro athlete, to come out, a multi-million dollar sponsorship!

In Bloomberg this week…. By the time former Phoenix Suns executive Rick Welts’s I-am-gay announcement appeared on the front page of the May 15, 2011, New York Times, he already had revealed his secret to friends, co-workers and business associates.

Among those told before the article was published were NBA Commissioner David Stern and senior executives at Nike Inc (NKE)., the world’s largest sporting-goods company whose roster of team- sport athlete endorsers includes Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees and Joe Flacco of the Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens.
Nike asked Welts to deliver a message to anyone thinking about becoming
the first openly gay athlete in major U.S. team sports — the company
wants him as an endorser. 

“They made it clear to me Nike would embrace it,” Welts, 60, now president of the National Basketball Association’s
Golden State Warriors, said in a telephone interview. “The player who
does it, they’re going to be amazed at the additional opportunities that
are put on the table, not the ones that are taken off.”

According
to Bob Witeck, 61, a gay-marketing strategist and corporate consultant,
the first openly gay team-sport athlete — provided he’s a recognizable
name — would earn millions in endorsements and speaking engagements
from companies seeking to capture more of a U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender adult population whose annual buying power he pegs at
almost $800 billion.

“We’ve passed the tipping point to where
national advertisers are no longer afraid of the gay market,” said Mark
Elderkin, chief executive officer of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based
Gay Ad Network. 

We truly have reached the tipping point! In the last 2 years, more and more LGBTQ supporters have surfaced, to support us and accept us.

How cool is that?  Read the whole story at Bloomberg that talks about the Nike dollars, but also  gay slurs used by athletes and growing team acceptance.

Read the recent interview with Rick Welts.