Archive for the ‘Homophobia’ Category

167006078Today, we cheer for Jason Collins, who began a first-person column for Sports Illustrated by writing the following:

I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.

I don’t feel this urge to cheer for him because he’s a homosexual. After all, I wouldn’t cheer for another athlete because he’s a heterosexual.

Just imagine: High-five! You prefer a particular gender for sexual relations and potential domestic partnership. Yes! Fist bumps all around.

It’s so absurd, and yet, not that far off from what’s actually expressed by those who would attempt to discriminate against a certain type of people based on such things.

I cheer for Jason Collins because I cheer for courage. I cheer for Jason Collins because I cheer for social progress. I cheer for Jason Collins because somewhere there’s a young athlete confused about whom he or she is, and a black 34-year-old NBA center just made it easier for them to understand that they’re not weird, that their preferences aren’t wrong, that what they feel inside might just make them a little bit like Jason Collins. And that’s something for which cheering is worthwhile.

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culliverOn January 29th, five days before a Super Bowl game in which he’d be embarrassingly outwitted by Baltimore Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Cullvier told comedian Artie Lange during an interview that an openly gay football player wouldn’t be welcomed in a National Football League locker room.

I don’t do the gay guys man. I don’t do that. No, we don’t got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff. Nah can’t be in the locker room man. Nah.

The next day, amid the ensuing media storm, Culliver made an apology, in which he made a questionable differentiation between his mind and his emotions.

The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel. It has taken me seeing them in print to realize that they are hurtful and ugly. Those discriminating feelings are truly not in my heart. Further, I apologize to those who I have hurt and offended, and I pledge to learn and grow from this experience.

The explanation for his prejudiced remarks was largely mocked at the time, but a month after his team’s Super Bowl loss, Culliver followed through on his commitment to “learn and grow from this experience.” On Monday, the backup cornerback visited The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.

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Discover BCS National Championship - Notre Dame v AlabamaAccording to the collective bargaining agreement between the National Football League and its players association, discrimination based on sexual orientation is banned. The new protection was added to the 2011 labor agreement without much fanfare, likely through the efforts of Ted Olson and David Boies, who despite respectively representing the union and the owners during negotiations, had previously worked together in 2010 to overturn California’s ban on marriage equality.

It represents a step forward, even if there was some stumbling backwards in the lead up to the Super Bowl when San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver told reporters that there wasn’t a gay football player on his team, and if there was he wouldn’t want to play with him. This is worth mentioning because of a recent report from Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk revealing that teams at the NFL combine, scouting potential picks for the upcoming draft, want to know if Manti Te’o is in fact a homosexual.

The elephant in the room for many scouts relates to the question that Katie Couric abruptly posed to Te’o — and that Te’o answered in a way that speaks volumes as to the current culture of football:  Is Te’o gay?

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