Why Elena Delle Donne ‘Coming Out Of the Closet’ is Bittersweet for the WNBA

Before I begin, a disclaimer. We shouldn’t need disclaimers but better to use one than to become a trending topic.

I hold no qualms with people who are gay. Homosexuality like heterosexuality is a personal choice and should be respected. No person should be objectified, even though they are by the corporations they represent, the media who covers them, and the people who watch them. 

Elena Delle Donne revealed that she was gay. No biggie, right? Well, let’s see about that. She’s a member of Team USA Basketball and a player in the Women’s National Basketball Association. She is not the first professional athlete to “come out of the closet,” nor will she be the last. Still, the announcement of her sexual preference and engagement is bittersweet news to the WNBA.

First, the good news. We should always be supportive of unjustly excluded groups that look to find some normalcy in America. Athletics has become a microcosm of this is search for normalcy for many segments of society, including the gay community. The”coming out of the closet” is a result of a desire to be understood and accepted. I know many people are getting tired of hearing about it sexuality, but many of those people do not identify as homosexual and have not faced the challenges that come with that orientation, the main one being ostracism. Believe it or not, athletes like Elena Delle Donne do represent an underrepresented segment of society. #DealWithIt

That being said, there’s also a negative fallout that coincides with Elena Della Donne’s announcement. It’s a little less obvious and most people won’t even touch it, but the monster is still there underneath the bed, and it’s affecting the bottom line.

Have you ever watched a football game? If so, then most likely you’ve also suffered through the droning commercials.

Zales, the diamond store. 

He went to Jared!

Don’t miss out on getting her that bouquet of roses just because it’s Wednesday.

Many of the commercials that are shown during football games are tailored toward middle-aged men, because that group is most likely married and financially stable. I would be willing to bet that more jewelry ads are show during football games than during Lifetime movies shown at the peak times.

Women get preferential treatment at the bars and clubs. There’s Ladies’ Night, Half -off drinks for women until Midnight, and an endless number of other creative ploys that club owners enlist to draw women into their establishment. If you haven’t ever asked yourself why those club owners do that, I’ll tell you why. Where the beautiful women go men are sure to follow and spend their money.                                                                                                  #SexSells

You don’t have to agree, but it has been proven that sex sells. Dr. Ryan T. Howell says:

“…researchers found that when people were shown pictures of couples in erotic positions, they were more likely to risk $1.00 compared to when they were shown pictures of a spider and snake or household appliances. Most importantly, they found that the nucleus accumbens, the part of the brain associated with experiencing positive emotional states, were activated when making riskier decisions…Thus, because of activation in the nucleus accumbens region of the brain, people made risky financial investments.”

I think it is safe to assume that men like sports more than women, therefore, if the WNBA wants to grow faster then it has to appeal to the male viewer. The easiest male viewer to appeal to is the male that is already a sports fan. The problem with getting the male to tune into the WNBA as oppose to choosing baseball or Canadian football is simple. The WNBA does not have the exciting athletic plays that get “Ooohs” and “Ahhs.” Men are visually stimulated.

Thus, the next best way to attract male viewership is through sex appeal. Obviously the WNBA isn’t going to go the Legends Football League route, requiring that players wear scantily clad uniforms. But, having a beautiful heterosexual white superstar player goes a long way to attracting men. That was Elena Delle Donne, well, before today. She had huge sex appeal, not quite like Anna Kournikova or Jennie Finch, but still respectable in her own right.

I wish I was wrong, but I’m not. Just go on Twitter or Facebook and look at the hapless saps who are in a rut because their favorite WNBA player is gay, not because she prefers women but because they can’t ever hope to have her. For better of for worse sex sells, and men are its biggest buyers.





One thought on “Why Elena Delle Donne ‘Coming Out Of the Closet’ is Bittersweet for the WNBA”

  1. true. I started following her when she was in college cause she was/is hot. Now that she has come out as gay, I’m not as interested. However, should she later come out as bi, I’m back!

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