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CNN -- The closet door became unhinged lately when a number of gay men in sports decided to turn the knob and hold a public liberation. From a newspaper writer in Boston one week, to a former college basketball player in Philadelphia the next, a radio broadcaster in New York, and finally an executive in Phoenix, all felt safe and bold enough to say, "I'm different. So what happened next? That, too, was supposed to be shocking.
One minute you're burrowed into your home sweet hole; the next minute you're hurtling through a vacuum hose and landing inside a padded yellow truck. You can't read the side of the truck, but it says, "Dog-Gone: Prairie Dog Control" and below that, in green letters, "Environmentally Safe. Meet Dave Honaker and Gay Balfour, who are ridding fields and prairies of prairie dogs, hole by hole, with the help of a revamped sewer truck. Not for them the aggressive techniques of rifles, poison or flooding.
It is known for having passionate fans. According to Hanford Dixon , then a cornerback with the Browns , Dixon himself gave his defensive teammates the name "Dawgs" to inspire them before the season. Dixon and fellow cornerback Frank Minnifield started the idea of the pound by using the dog-versus-cat relationship between the quarterback and the defense. Dixon and Minnifield then put up the first "Dawg Pound" banner in front of the bleachers before the first preseason game at old Cleveland Stadium. The bleacher section had the cheapest seats in the stadium, and its fans were already known as the most vocal.