How the h... do you know? He did say it about Tilden...who he expressly went to watch...he wasn't reported to have said it about any other tennis player. Obviously, many people didn't know he was a homosexual...my point was that many did suspect, but either didn't care or didn't do anything to cause Tilden problems. Certainly many of the tennis players knew or suspected. For one thing, Tilden never showered with the rest of the players after matches. He even confided in a few heterosexual players. Would he have been run out of the tennis world if he had publicly announced? Maybe...but the fact remains many people knew or strongly suspected, and Tilden's career was not derailed until after he committed a crime.
Hence the "maybe" in my sentence.
Ty was said to rant about all kinds of minority groups.* He wasn't necessarily a clear-sighted unbiased observer.
There's either more or less to the story, though, as Tilden coached Ty Jr. at tennis.
My point was just, 1) you'd have to look closely at source material to find out who knew what when and even then it would be hard to come to a conclusion about what he was doing and what people knew about it (as is the case with Michael Jackson in his early days), and 2) the rumored sexual orientations of athletes in the past is very different from today's situation.
I'm not sure we actually disagree about that. Look at it one way there may have been some tolerance in the past, but it may also just have been that people didn't know or didn't realize.
You could be right, but what's clear to me is people now are much more likely to write about Tilden as being "flamboyant" or "open" or "out" about his sexuality than they were in the past. The shift may say as much about people today as it does about Tilden in the 1920s.
* As an example of the uncertainty of these things, when I do google searches related to Ty Cobb, along with the usual references to his rants against Blacks and Jews, I find articles denying that he was any sort of racist or bigot.