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SPORTS HERO

Here’s How the NFL Tackled One Teen’s Antigay Bullying Head-On

Just a couple years ago, a sentence like this would have been unthinkable:

In this video, a NFL star gives a gay youngster a tour of the Giants locker room, and sits down to chat about overcoming discrimination.

What is this crazy new awesome planet we are living in, where stuff like this happens?

The video is part of a partnership between USA (the TV company, not the country) and the NFL, and highlights exemplaray character. The stars are 19-year-old Joey Kemmerling and Giants wide receiver (heh) Victor Cruz.

Joey told a few people he was gay in high school, but words spread. “After I came out, the locker room was the last place I wanted to be. It was full of homophobia.”

His principal was very helpful and told Joey to act less gay. Great job, school administrator! Joey went through what sounds like depression, and removed himself from the sports activities that he once loved. He became a bit of a pariah at his school.

But these days he’s worked through his difficulties, got a diploma, and is going to school. (And we have a sneaking suspicion that he’s going to be very very popular with other gay men.)

This is the first time Joey’s been back to a locker room since his painful high school experience. Not a bad way to rejoin the sports world!

This is a far more uplifting story than the weird Aaron Rodgers semi-outing. We’re still kind of in shock that the new normal includes gay-affirming sports heroes, but might as well get used to it. Ta da!

By:           matt baume
On:           Jan 7, 2014
Tagged: , , , ,
  • 18 Comments
    • Ogre Magi
      Ogre Magi

      reminds me a bit of this
      https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/385685_10151101936983386_220407230_n.jpg

      Jan 7, 2014 at 4:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cmhbuck
      cmhbuck

      Same NFL that went after Chris Kluwe and blacklisted Kerry Rhodes though.

      Jan 7, 2014 at 5:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Thad1527
      Thad1527

      But Victor Cruz is a class act. He had my respect for dedicating a game to Jack Pinto, one of the first-graders killed at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT.

      Jan 7, 2014 at 5:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ppp111
      ppp111

      @cmhbuck:

      Thank you! I was thinking the same thing. I wouldn’t believe anything the NFL says at this point. It’s all about the image. Sure they may want to seem like a progressive organization but when push comes to shove they end up showing their real colors. Sad.

      Jan 7, 2014 at 6:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jimbryant
      jimbryant

      The locker room is full of homophobia? Well, cry me a river. My advice is this: suck it up.

      Learn to be tough, for Pete’s sake. Grow a hide. Life can be hard. Playing the victim all the time won’t get you anywhere.

      Jan 7, 2014 at 6:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cmhbuck
      cmhbuck

      @jimbryant:

      Nice attitude toward children.

      You regularly toughen up your nephews and nieces that way too? Beat the crap out of your nephew until he gets up every time you knock him down? Ditch the niece across town and tell her to find her own way home, ostensibly to make her stronger?

      Jan 7, 2014 at 6:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ppp111
      ppp111

      @cmhbuck:

      Normally I wouldn’t agree with almost anything jimbryant writes but in this case there is some truth to what he says. Look, we’re gonna face homophobia probably for the rest of our lives. We have two choices: face it down or hide for fear of reprisal. I wouldn’t have put is so bluntly as jimbryant but I would tell young LGBT youth that the world isn’t gonna hold their hands all the time. Only they have the strength and resolve to eliminate homophobia. I hope to see it in my lifetime that someone’s sexuality makes a lick of difference in their ability. One can only pray.

      Jan 7, 2014 at 7:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Wingfield
      Wingfield

      I just love that cruz can make the correlation between the discrimination he felt, with what a gay person goes through. Bravo mr. Cruz, now please talk to some of your locker mates.

      Jan 7, 2014 at 7:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billysees
      Billysees

      @ppp111:

      “Only they have the strength and resolve to eliminate homophobia.”

      There’s no way that many gay youth posses the strength to resolve something they can’t eliminate. Resolution happens when the offense ceases.

      “I hope to see it in my lifetime that someone’s sexuality [does not] makes a lick of difference in their ability. One can only pray.”

      Good comment.

      Jan 7, 2014 at 8:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Teleny
      Teleny

      It takes time to develop armor that lgbtq need to face the world. Looks like Joey is on his way. Kudos to Victor Cruz- a good deed never goes unrewarded.

      Jan 7, 2014 at 8:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ppp111
      ppp111

      @Billysees:

      I totally agree with you but my comment is that when all is said and done gay youth have to face that hate and develop a thick hide. Am I excusing the behavior of the homophobes? God no! But we have to be realistic that prejudice and bigotry will always be around. I guess its a way for people to think they’re better than others. That kind of behavior has been around for centuries and, unfortunately, isn’t going away any time soon.

      Jan 7, 2014 at 9:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Degas
      Degas

      Kids are coming out earlier and earlier these days. Joey did with his friend and it was used against him. Even the adults in charge added to his persecution. I guess there’s some truth in the adage about that which does not kill us making us stronger. He’s really turned tragedy into triumph. Awesome to see he’s in college and surprised that it’s my alma mater.

      Jan 8, 2014 at 8:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles175
      Charles175

      @jimbryant: So this is your mindset.

      Jan 8, 2014 at 9:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ellen J. Singleton
      Ellen J. Singleton

      My Uncle Nicholas just got a stunning white Mercedes SL-Class Convertible by working off of a macbook… check out this site http://gg.gg/xwj6

      Jan 8, 2014 at 9:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billysees
      Billysees

      @ppp111:

      “….when all is said and done gay youth have to face that hate and develop a thick hide.”

      “….we have to be realistic that prejudice and bigotry will always be around.”

      “That kind of behavior has been around for centuries and, unfortunately, isn’t going away any time soon.”

      You’re correct here. You’re essentially saying that gay youth must be quick to forgive and then forget and then move on till the next time and then repeat that forgiveness routine again and again and….

      That’s the way I dealt with it. Oftentimes when mockers and persecutors see that you’re a forgiving and forgetful type of person, they’ll stop.

      Am I excusing the behavior of the homophobes? God no! But we have to be realistic that prejudice and bigotry will always be around. I guess its a way for people to think they’re better than others.

      Jan 8, 2014 at 12:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billysees
      Billysees

      @Charles175:

      Conservative religiosity, including Christianity, has its dark side.

      That darkness atarts in the pulpits or other places and then goes on into the congregation or public square.

      When “loving and merciful attitudes” are realized to be greater or more important than “judgmental attitudes”, as the Book says, then that darkness will dissipate.

      “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” the Book says and that should be a simple thought to live by for the religious and non-religious among us.

      Jan 8, 2014 at 12:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billysees
      Billysees

      @ppp111:

      I’d like to say one other thing here, if you don’t mind some Christian stuff that’s not widely or well known. Continuing from above —

      “You’re correct here. You’re essentially saying that gay youth must be quick to forgive and then forget and then move on till the next time and then repeat that forgiveness routine again and again and….

      That’s the way I dealt with it. Oftentimes when mockers and persecutors see that you’re a forgiving and forgetful type of person, they’ll stop.”

      Jesus said (paraphrased), “Make friends with all kinds of people. Make friends with unrighteous people. Make friends with evil people.”

      Now why would he say that? Because it was his way of being “winsome”.

      Winsomeness is the key word here.

      His job in his life was different than ours.

      But, we must be the same (if we’re not already) so we will convert others to like and admire us. It’s not impossible to do.

      People with bad attitudes are the very kinds of people who mock and will harm us, so it’s necessary to be winsome towards them. It’s a way to win our enemies over to “our side”.

      To generate acceptance and love towards ALL LGBT folks will require a certain amount of salesmanship on our part to “win people” over to us so they will love and accept us.

      Jan 9, 2014 at 5:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billysees
      Billysees

      By the way, check out this beautiful definition of winsome and realize what “we must always be” —

      http://www.thefreedictionary.com/winsome

      Jan 9, 2014 at 5:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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