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Getty Images

Years (and years) ago, I hooked up with a Major League Baseball player while on vacation in Miami. We definitely connected. He liked me, not because I was some stud, but because I knew more about baseball than he did, and he thought I was “hilarious.” We drank heavily that night. He was married, and when I asked him about that, he shot me a look and said, “Let’s not talk about that.”

I followed his career, and also tried to follow the logic about his sexuality. I’ve since been fascinated by professional sports stars who have come out of the closet, and admired their bravery. I knew there was no way my Major Leaguer could come out, but I often wondered about the pain he suffered living a life on the down-low. I’ve never told anyone his name, and I don’t intend to ever do that. At the same time, I hope that he found happiness — and love for himself.

And as a side note, years ago, while she worked for the Hyatt Corporation, my sister, who is the picture of beauty, shared an elevator with Whitney Houston, while my sister escorted her to her room. When my sister called me to say that Whitney had made a pass at her, I remember we both laughed about it.

But being in the closet, especially when you’re famous, is not a laughing matter, and seems to come with some great risks. With the release of her memoir, A Song for You: My Life With Whitney Houston, Robyn Crawford revealed a longtime lesbian romantic relationship with the superstar who was famously married to Bobby Brown. Granted, Houston had lots of issues in her life, but perhaps principal among them was her painstaking attempt to keep her sexuality hidden. Her death was one of the most tragic and shocking in Hollywood history.

And with the release of the new Netflix documentary, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez, we gained insight into the horrific behavior of a young NFL superstar. While he had suffered brain damage and had an unsettled childhood and a briefly tumultuous adulthood, Hernandez was also apparently dealing with the struggle of coping with and hiding his sexuality. His arrest and conviction for murder, and subsequent death by suicide, was the most stunning incident to hit the NFL since O.J. Simpson.

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