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Suns CEO Rick Welts steps down

Sep 9, 2011, 1:52 PM EDT

Rick Welts AP

Usually it’s best when a team’s CEO doesn’t end up in the news, but the Suns Rick Welts made an exception earlier this year when he came out of the closet as a gay man. Doing that in the world of professional sports takes serious courage and it sparked a good debate about homosexuality in sports.

In a surprise, Welts has decided to step down from his job as CEO. His last day with the Suns will be Sept. 15. Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic spoke with him.

Welts told The Arizona Republic Friday morning that he is not leaving for another job but to be in another city. In the past year, Welts started a new relationship and his partner is in Sacramento. He plans to do speaking engagements and perhaps take an offer to write a book.

“The most important thing for me is to get my personal and professional lives better aligned,” Welts said. “They’ve probably never been aligned. I’m 58 years old and it’s time to do that.

“This isn’t one of those departures to see greener pastures. It really is completely a personal situation. These guys have been tremendously accommodating and any other inference than that is absolutely crazy.”

This is a loss for the Suns, Welts is well respected around the NBA. But sometimes people do step down for personal reasons and not just use that as a shield when they are in trouble. That seems to be the case here. All we can do is wish Welts the best of luck with whatever he ends up doing next. And don’t worry, you can probably still get some Suns tickets at a fair price.

  1. dadawg77 - Sep 9, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    I wonder if he is working with Kevin Johnson or will? If someone was going to buy the team and keep them in Sacramento, having Welts leading the bid/ownership team wouldn’t be a bad move.

  2. goforthanddie - Sep 9, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    Very convenient that SAC also has a hoops team.

  3. trbowman - Sep 9, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    This guy cares too much about drawing attention to himself.

    • Dug - Sep 9, 2011 at 7:59 PM

      Trbowman,

      Your homophobia is showing. It took courage to admit publicly who he is. He has no control over the press involving his resignation and the rehash of his story.

      Diversity is good thing, even in sports. Especially in sports.

      • trbowman - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:17 AM

        No it didn’t take courage, this guy probably has more money than god and he wants me to feel bad for him. Sorry I’ll save my sympathy for people who have real problems.

  4. Rhonda Doyle - Sep 11, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    I deeply respect anyone who steps back to look at life and their role in it a the moment. It is never to late to claim who you are and what this life experience means for you. A true legend, hero, or leader in my mind is a person who harnesses the reality that although they have the capability to achieve greatness in ALL that they do…how they do it…who they do it with…the relationships they build…and the lives they impact is what is most important. After all the rest of us are living it with them.. Enjoy the new journey, I’ll look forward to the book!

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