A professional Canadian volleyball player claims being openly gay has cost him a lucrative contract with a professional volleyball team.
Chris Voth, 25, came out as gay publicly back in 2014 in the hope of inspiring others to be who they are.
His story was made public across Canada as he was one of the very first professional atheletes to do so before American Football player Jason Collins did the same the next year.
A member of Canada’s national volleball team, Voth returned home to Winnipeg this year from a stint playing in the Netherlands where his team managed to win three championships.
After speaking with a number of local clubs, Voth and his manager started negotiating a contract for the 2016/17 season and looked to have a lucrative one all sorted when the offer was suddenly pulled.
“I had a great offer lined up, I was pretty excited, and I had good references for this club,” Voth explained to the Winnipeg Free Press.
He decided not to publicly state the country to keep the focus on the issue of barriers faced by athletes who have come out as gay.
“My agent told me the team said they didn’t want to take you because they were nervous about other teams’ fans being hostile toward you because of being gay. I was just, ‘Oh.’”
His manager Steve Welch, said that losing the contract was a big shame as was a great fot for Voth and the deal was basically done.
“But the team called and specifically said it was because of his sexual orientation why they were backing out. They said it was for his own protection because other people in their country were not as open-minded as they were,” Welch said from Ottawa.
“As an agent, getting rejected is part of the business. It is not uncommon to present a player to 20 or 30 teams before finding one that accepts.
“But with Chris, it has been a little strange. Teams seem to be really interested one minute, and the next minute.
“I can’t get them to return my calls. Teams do research on players, and Chris is very upfront about his sexual orientation.
“I am sure that some of these teams have decided not to take him because of his sexual orientation but just don’t want to come out and say it.”
Voth said he was surprised and hurt by the nature of the contract rejection.
“It did hurt because I was being open and trying to be a leader within Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and even perhaps the world.
“I was trying to set an example that it is possible (to be successful as an openly gay professional athlete), you can do it.
“So for it to kind of do the opposite, instead of making me a leader, it prohibited me from getting a job, it’s a tough situation.
“My team in the Netherlands was amazing, they were very supportive and I loved it there, so I didn’t really think it (being openly gay) would be an issue.
“I had some offers in countries that I knew I couldn’t go to (where homosexuality is illegal or punishable by death) like in Iran, Egypt and eastern countries like that, so I don’t really want to do that.”
Last Updated on Aug 16, 2016