PHOENIX, May 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Today marks the release of the second edition of Bill Konigsberg's 2009 Lambda Literary Award-winning novel Out of the Pocket. The former ESPN and Associated Press sports writer has chosen to unveil the book two days before the May 8th NFL draft, where standout defensive end Michael Sam is expected to make history by becoming the first openly gay player in the NFL.
Before there was Michael Sam, there was Bobby Framingham, the fictional high school quarterback from Out of the Pocket. In the novel, Bobby, a top high school prospect, is outed against his will and becomes a national story. At the time of Pocket's original publication, the question of what would happen if an NFL player came out was a hypothetical one.
"One of the things that struck me about the book is how accurately it predicted locker room reactions that we're seeing today, with the news of Michael Sam coming out," former NFL punter Chris Kluwe wrote in his foreword for the novel. "Some players, like Somers and Mendez in the book, obviously will never understand. But from my experience, the majority of players rally behind each other, because we sweat and bleed together out on the field, and that makes us family. Sure, it's a dysfunctional family at times, a family I've seen get into fistfights and throw chairs at each other. But at the end of the day it's a family that loves every member, no matter who you happen to be."
Kluwe, a straight ally, was allegedly cut from the Minnesota Vikings after the 2012 season for his outspoken support of gay marriage.
Along with Kluwe's foreword, the second edition of Out of the Pocket includes an afterword by outsports.com co-founder Jim Buzinski, who traces the lightning-fast growth of the gay sports movement in the last six years, in addition to two new chapters by Konigsberg, whose own professional life has often intersected with the gays-in-sports movement.
Konigsberg became the first openly gay male at ESPN when he came out on the front page of ESPN.com with his essay "Sports World Still a Struggle for Gays" in 2001. That essay won him a GLAAD Media Award in 2002. He went on to cover sports for The Associated Press, covering the New York Mets and writing a popular fantasy baseball column until the publication of his first novel. Now, Konigsberg focuses on his fiction writing. His most recent book, Openly Straight, received a rave review from The New York Times and won the prestigious Sid Flesichman Award for Humor this year.
"It's so amazing to see how quickly things have changed," Konigsberg said. "I remember when you would have been hard-pressed to find a single sports writer who would write about gays in sports. Now, it's hard to find one who would publicly come out against Michael Sam.
"If I wrote Bobby's story today, it would be totally different. And at the same time, I think the book has some very contemporary messages about gays and straights playing on the same team. It was cool to re-read it after all these years and think about the ways things have changed, and how they haven't. The shower situation comes to mind."
Konigsberg's website, billkonigsberg.com, includes up-to-date information on where to find his novels and upcoming appearances. You can follow him at @billkonigsberg.
The book is available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Out-Pocket-Bill-Konigsberg/dp/0615987184/
Media Contact: Kameron Martinez, StraBeCa Books, (480) 382-3586, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE StraBeCa Books