Pride On The Court - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Pride On The Court

Openly gay athletes have been a topic of discussion since Missouri All-American Michael Sam told ESPN and The New York Times he is gay.

Newschannel 6 talked with Jazman Patterson, a former Midwestern State University athlete, about her collegiate experience being an openly gay athlete.

"It's not that big of a deal.  It was not like I was checking out my teammates, I wasn't hitting on anyone.  We we're all family and we were there to attempt to win a championship," said Patterson.

As a student athlete, she held a 3.8 GPA and started in every game during her four seasons with the Mustangs.  Patterson said during her tenure she was accepted on and off the court. 

"In college you just accept each other and you're a family," said Patterson.

However, Patterson admits she wasn't always accepted.  In high school she said some looked at her based on her sexuality not her athleticism. 

"They would approach it thinking that they'll be some huge difference. Maybe they should watch out for me," said Patterson. 

However, when stepping into MSU's locker room she was accepted by coaches and players.  The same acceptance NFL draft prospect Michael Sam hopes he will receive on the professional level.

Patterson said men have a harder time coming out. 

"I feel like men are more in touch with their sexuality.  They want to guard it and women are like we're just friends," said Patterson.

Based on conversations she's had with male athletes, she believes the experience gay men have in the locker room with teammates will be much different from hers.

"There's a significant difference between how they [men] would treat a gay teammate versus how a female would treat a gay teammate," said Patterson.

A mindset she and Michael Sam hope people will change about openly gay athletes.  Focusing more on the athletes athletic skills rather than their personal preference off the playing-field.

"The fact that he's gay doesn't change the fact he's a man or who I am as a lady or anyone else.  I think that's what we should be focused on, the athlete, and not what goes on outside the locker room or the field," said Patterson.

Jimmie Johnson, Newschannel 6 

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