If you didn’t watch Thursday’s pre-event press conference for MotoGP at Jerez, it is worth a viewing right to the end (assuming you have a MotoGP.com account). Building off the news about the NBA’s Jason Collins coming out as gay in a self-written feature in Sport Illustrated, my good colleague David Emmett had the courage to inquire about the culture and acceptance of the MotoGP paddock for homosexual riders.
I will let David write in his own words the mood and response to the evening’s press conference, as well as address the comments, criticisms, and opinions put forth later on Twitter by members of the paddock, when learning about the event. For the sake of accuracy though, after the jump is a full transcript of David’s question, as put to riders Cal Crutchlow, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso, Stefan Bradl, and Scott Redding, as well as those riders’ responses to David’s inquiry.
David Emmett: “This is a question for everyone — it is quite a difficult question. Last week Jason Collins, an NBA player, admitted he was homosexual. Now there have been are no openly homosexual MotoGP riders. I want to hear your thoughts on why that is not the case. Are people afraid of coming out as gay, or are you all just more really interested in women?”
<laughter from the crowd>
Cal Crutchlow: “Should I go first?!”
David Emmett: “Yes please!”
Cal Crutchlow: “Sorry David, I’m off bounds — I’m nearly married. That’s all I have to say…I don’t know. I don’t think it matters, you know? I think this sport is about racing motorcycles. It’s never came out that anybody is gay. But maybe there are some, just hidden in the closet, I don’t know. Maybe I’m sat with one of them. I don’t know.”
Jorge Lorenzo: “For the people who ask me on Twitter, or whatever, if I am gay this is the time that they will know I’m not gay. I respect the gay people. Of course, there is no problem.”
David Emmett: “Anyone else?”
Nick Harris: “Marc Marquez?”
Marc Marquez: “I think it’s not a problem. I have great respect for everybody, and everybody from a different personalities. Not a problem.”
Andrea Dovisioso: “I never thought about that, that some riders can be gay, but I think for everybody it would be not a problem. But, it is difficult to think. I don’t know why.”
Stefan Bradl: “Maybe if it makes faster we will think about it…”
<laughter from the entire room>
Stefan Bradl: “But so far I don’t have the experience. I’m not gay also. But for sure I respect the guys that are gay. They are also normal person.”
Scott Redding: “Yeah, same for me. I’ve been with a girlfriend for a long time now, and not really thought of going the other way so. Again, respect to everyone, and it is what it is.”