At 31, Orlando Cruz becomes the first professional boxer to come out of the closet. The Puerto Rican told USA Today that “I’ve been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself. I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career. . .I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man.”
Cruz is the first boxer to come out during his career. It has been noted that Emile Griffith, who fought in the ‘50s and ‘60s, came out as bisexual after his career was over.
By and large, professional athletes do not come out of the closet during their careers. A few exceptions to that have occurred in the past, however.