Yeah, well if they’re doing it, then so are we.
Interestingly, two former New York Giants teammates have found themselves on opposite ends of the highly-controversial same-sex marriage debate that has suddenly crept into the world of sports.
Michael Strahan and his fiancée, Nicole Murphy, star in a 38-second ad on behalf of the New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign.
“As a defensive end for the New York Giants, I always played the game tough but fair,” Strahan says. “And I feel it’s unfair to stop committed couples from being married … We believe everyone should have the right to get married.”
But another legendary member of that 2007 Super Bowl team is making headlines for his rather blunt opposition of same-sex marriage. In an interview yesterday with the National Organization for Marriage, the man who made arguably the most famous catch in NFL history argued that the legalization of gay marriage would lead to anarchy.
Tyree: “How can marriage be marriage for thousands of years and now all the sudden because a minority, an influential minority, has a push or agenda … and totally reshapes something that was not founded in our country.”
It is a little comical that Tyree made the above statement only days removed from the 44th anniversary of the legalization of interracial marriage in the United States, something that, as TMZ points out, stemmed in part from “the push or agenda of an influential minority.”
It would be easy to use this space to tear Tyree apart, because I gather that the majority of the people reading this blog feel that same-sex marriage is a natural next step as society evolves. That said, it wouldn’t be wise or appropriate for us to take a side, and we do obviously believe that everyone is entitled to an opinion. Neither Strahan nor Tyree broke any laws, and neither of them were representing the National Football League or any of its teams. I applaud them for participating in the public sphere by standing up for what they believe in.
I get the feeling that both players were aware that there’d be backlash coming from opposing sides of the spectrum, and I think that both are prepared to handle the wrath. (For instance, Tyree probably shouldn’t expect an invitation to return to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”.)
I don’t agree with those who will claim that they should stick to sports. Whether we like it or not, there is a segment of society that values the opinions of celebrities and pro athletes and anyone else in the public spotlight. Strahan took advantage of his status to help a cause he believes in, as did Tyree. Both might reach people who otherwise wouldn’t have been engaged in a discussion that requires their attention.
I only hope that those people are intelligent enough to watch both videos and formulate their own opinions.
(Hat tip: ProFootballTalk)