Quite a few stories have hit the news wire this week concerning LGBTQ figures in athletics. We've witnessed a surge of coming-out moments in the past year or so from high profile people -- Chely Wright came out as the first lesbian in country music, Ricky Martin confirmed what we'd all been hoping for, and Chaz Bono bravely publicized his transition. But in what seems to have been a year full of major strides for LGBT acceptance in the mainstream media, one can firmly assert that professional sports is one area that still severely lacks queer representation. Here are some recent stories showing that professional sports, an area that has lagged and continues to lag in the effort to achieve equality, has made an impressive bit of progress recently: N.B.A. Executive Dares to Leave the Safety of his Shadow Life (New York Times) "In many work environments, this would qualify as a so-what moment. But until now, Mr. Welts, 58, who has spent 40 years in sports, rising from ball boy to N.B.A. executive to team president, had not felt comfortable enough in his chosen field to be open about his sexuality. His eyes welling at times, he also said that he planned to go public." Grant Hill and Jared Dudley in GLSEN's anti-bullying PSA (Towleroad) Grant Hill and Jared Dudley, both forwards for the Phoenix Suns, star in the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network's PSA against using homophobic slurs, particularly aimed at young athletes.Gay and at Peace, Will Sheridan Shares his Coming Out Story (ESPN) Former Villanova basketball player Will Sheridan discusses his coming out, the stigma surrounding gays in sports, and why athletes only feel comfortable coming out -- if at all -- after they've retired. "Although Sheridan wasn't out publicly in college, he didn't entirely hide, either. He quietly and privately dated a man from another Philadelphia school. Plus, he was artsy -- he took part in spoken-word performances at Villanova. He ran funny, on his tiptoes. ("I actually tried to change that for years," Sheridan said. "Then I said, f--- it. Some people talk funny. I run funny.") So there was plenty of stereotypical ammunition and rumor mill gossip to load up opposing fans." Two Straight Athletes Combat Homophobia (New York Times) "Ben Cohen is a world-class English rugby star, and Hudson Taylor is a three-time college all-American wrestler. They live on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean. They barely know each other. But they have something quite unusual in common. They may be the only two high-profile heterosexual athletes dedicating their lives to the issues of bullying and homophobia in sports. The question that each one frequently gets — besides 'Are you gay?' — is why are they involved in something that does not directly impact them, or so it would seem." In Rarity, a Player Speaks Out for Gay Rights (New York Times) Hockey hunk Sean Avery joined a slew of celebrities in a video campaign advocating for marriage equality in New York. "Until now, supporters have come mostly from the worlds of politics, entertainment, theater and fashion. One type of New York celebrity was conspicuously absent: the athlete." San Francisco Giants to Create "It Gets Better" Video (SF Weekly) The San Francisco Giants have plans to shoot and produce a video for the "It Gets Better" campaign, making them the first professional sports team to contribute.