The WWE's Darren Young has disclosed that he is gay, and he did so in pretty much the best way possible: a no-big-deal disclosure to a TMZ reporter while at an airport baggage carousel:
When asked whether a gay wrestler could survive in the WWE, Young laughed, and replied, "Absolutely. Look at me. I'm a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I'll tell you right now, I'm gay. And I'm happy. I'm very happy."
This being wrestling, of course, there's always the possibility that this is a stunt. But if it is true, the matter-of-fact way that Young delivered his revelation is a definite sign of progress. And, yes, TMZ did "get" Young to "admit" this on camera as a bit of entrapment, but credit Young for sidestepping the gotcha attempt and taking control of his own story.
Young's star is rising in WWE, and it'll be interesting to see whether this revelation does anything to alter that trajectory. Here's Young dealing out some punishment to CM Punk just a few weeks ago at a June RAW event:
John Cena had praise for Young's decision. "Oh, wonderful," he said when told of the news. "Good for him. That's fantastic ... I know Darren personally. Darren's a great guy. That's a very bold move for him. And congratulations for him for actually finally doing it." Cena, whose older brother is gay, added that he expected this wouldn't have any effect on his work.
"It's all about being professional, and Darren Young is a consummate professional," Cena said. "For us, it's entertainment, and if you're entertaining you shouldn't be judged by race, creed, color or sexuality ... as long as you're entertaining."
Of note: at this writing, Young's Twitter description reads, "As comfortable in the VIP section as he is in the ring, Darren Young’s life revolves around three things — money, women and wrestling." We'll have to see if that changes any time soon.
UPDATE: The WWE has released a statement, which reads in full: "On TMZ this morning, WWE Superstar Darren Young revealed to the WWE Universe that he is gay. WWE is proud of Darren Young for being open about his sexuality, and we will continue to support him as a WWE Superstar. Today, in fact, Darren will be participating in one of our Be A STAR anti-bullying rallies in Los Angeles to teach children how to create positive environments for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation."
-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-