Phoenix Suns Team President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Welts announced his resignation from the team, reports the Arizona Republic. Welts has been affiliated with the Suns organization since 2002, running the business and marketing side of the team but not being involved in basketball operations.
His last day on the job will be September 15, after which he'll be replaced on an interim basis by General Counsel Jason Rowley until a permanent successor is selected.
Welts made news in May by publicly announcing that he is gay, a move that was met with support from the Suns organization and coincided with an anti-homophobia public service announcement featuring Suns players Grant Hill and Jared Dudley.
Welts told the Republic he's not leaving the Suns for another job in professional sports franchise management but rather that:
Here's wishing Rick Welts all the best in his future endeavors and thanking him not only for his service to the Suns, but for displaying a brand of courage that only one who has walked in his shoes can fully understand and appreciate.
At the same time, Rick Welts was an outstandingly talented sports marketer and savvy businessman. He worked 17 years in the NBA league office before joining the Suns, rising to the level of Chief Marketing Officer and President of NBA properties. He's been credited with creating the NBA's All-Star weekend, among other notable achievements. Let's not remember him solely as "oh yeah, he was the gay guy" when he is so much more than that.