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A lacrosse captain comes out

Catching up with the weekend headlines on the Yeardley Love case at the University of Virginia, which several of us here at the Post are attempting to cover, I came across a link in Inside Higher Ed to a posting at Outsports, a Web site co-founded by an old friend from way back.

Turns out the post has nothing to do with U-Va. or the Love case. It's about a lacrosse team captain from Oneonta State University in New York who endured years as a closeted football and lacrosse player before finally coming out.

Andrew McIntosh said he gained confidence from reading the accounts of other gay athletes on Outsports, and then he began the process of coming out himself, first to his best friend, then to his sister, then to his coach.

The coach, Dan Mahar, was more than supportive. So were his co-captains, when he let them in on why "George Michael was on my iPod all the time." They accepted him, too, and soon the group was so comfortable with the idea that McIntosh was getting mirthful text messages about gay cruises and faulting his teammates for failing to shave or get a decent haircut.

"Life is great," writes this man, who not long ago was close to ending his life with a bottle of pills.

I'm not sure what I knew about lacrosse players before being plunged into collegiate lacrosse culture last week. I do know what some of our readers think they know, based on some of the comments on our stories these past few days. They seem to think men's lacrosse players are the worst sort of jocks, with prehistoric views on relationships and sexuality, and a closed-minded approach to the world in general.

I don't think anyone reading Andrew McIntosh's story would come to the same conclusion, at least not about Coach Mahar and his team.

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By Daniel de Vise  |  May 10, 2010; 10:59 AM ET
Categories:  Athletics , Crime  | Tags: Andrew McIntosh, Oneonta State, University of Virginia, Yeardley Love, college lacrosse  
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Please do not link this story with a heinous murder. They are not comparable and it minimizes the issues surrounding domestic violence by distracting the reader with a story about a completely different social issue.

No one, or at least I did not, assume that all Lacrosse players are cretins. I made the point of stating that the North Carolina players who came to her defense are true gentlemen.

And in a blog on another sports site I noted that if Lacrosse and privilege were a fertile breeding ground for murderers we would have seen far more casualties.

This man's struggle is worthy of note but please do not compare it to the agony of losing two young people in the prime of their lives.

Posted by: hakafos44 | May 10, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Did you not get the talking points memo on lacrosse players? Heh.

Generally where athletes are concerned you can count on resentment to bubble to the surface but what's going on with lacrosse seems like a huge overreaction. From what I can see the sport seems to be like tennis in that it is perceived as a rich kids game and maybe that is fueling some of the ire but it's sort of astonishing to read the vitriol that's being spewed at the sport. I keep reading that every male player of the sport is a thug and potential murderer so I read this piece with interest.

Posted by: calgrl75 | May 10, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

What a great article - thanks for bringing it to light! Hope many gay athletes get to read it to and that it serves as an inspiration to them. It is so tragic that people consider suicide to deal with the real or potential ostracizing of homosexuals in our society.

Posted by: gbvaladez | May 13, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

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