Why 'The Gay Athlete' should be Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year

No story dominated the sports year from January to December like conversations of LGBT issues in sports, and no one embodies the year of 2014 in sports like gay athletes. No individual or group of people deserves to be named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year more than The Gay Athlete.

In January, Conner Mertens made headlines when he came out publicly, making him the first publicly out LGBT active college football player. He went on to finish second on the team in scoring and second in the conference in field goal percentage - all as a freshman.

February was a seminal month for the movement, with the coming out of Michael SamJason Collins' first NBA game after coming out and the Winter Olympics that made LGBT issues a centerpiece of our national sports conversation. Ireen Wust, the out Dutch speedskater, led all athletes with five medals.

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