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John Amaechi Does HRC’s Bidding

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HRC either has the reflexes of a cock hungry john or they knew about former NBA player turned author John Amaechi‘s book/coming-out way before any of us, because they organized this shit right quick.

We got an email this weekend announcing that in addition to publishing Man in the Middle, Amaechi will lend his face to the non-profit’s National Coming Out Day. Of his new role as a gay hero, Amaechi had these pearls:

I believe very strongly in the responsibility of people with power and influence to be role models. Living more openly in the later years of my NBA career was one of the things that radically changed my life. It made me happier. I want to spread my influence in the same way that I was able to because I had a basketball in my hand. I hope now to have perhaps a different lectern to stand behind but with an equally important message.

That’s nice.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be an HRC announcement without a little linguistic love from president Joe Solmonese – actually, the press release put his blurb first.

John is making history this week, becoming the first NBA player to ever come out and talk about his life and experiences as an athlete and a gay man. In sharing his story, our great hope is that John will pave the way for more GLBT and straight athletes to openly support fairness and respect on and off the playing field.

We’re sure Amaechi’s revelations will give some jocko-homos the courage to come out, but we have to point out that Amaechi didn’t come out until after he made money playing professional basketball.

Much like their celebration of Black History Month, HRC’s erected an entire John Amaechi website, on which you can read all Amaechi’s forthcoming national book tour, which that kicks off at the 11th HRC Philadelphia’s Gala Dinner on February 17th. It’s worth noting that ESPN Books, which published Man in the Middle, doesn’t have as comprehensive a website for Amaechi. Isn’t it interesting that the publishing company doesn’t seem to be celebrating a ground breaking book? We think it’s interesting, especially considering that HRC has all the info on the book tour and has even organized a blog to track the excursion. Maybe ESPN just hasn’t updated in a while. Or, of course, maybe HRC’s been in cahoots the entire time.

Read all about it, after the jump….

Former NBA Star John Amaechi Named Spokesperson of
HRC Coming Out Project
Amaechi to Conduct Nationwide Book Tour, Raise Dialogue Around Living Openly

WASHINGTON — Today the Human Rights Campaign announced that former NBA player John Amaechi will serve as a national spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign’s Coming Out Project, a program designed to help gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people come out and live openly.

“John is making history this week, becoming the first NBA player to ever come out and talk about his life and experiences as an athlete and a gay man,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “In sharing his story, our great hope is that John will pave the way for more GLBT and straight athletes to openly support fairness and respect on and off the playing field.”

“John is going to give a new face and a thoughtful, heartfelt voice to openly gay athletes in this country,” said Human Rights Campaign Coming Out Project Director Mark Shields. “Young athletes – GLBT and straight – will now have a new role model to help show them the importance of competing openly, honestly and respectfully.”

As spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign’s Coming Out Project, Amaechi will promote the importance of being out and living openly and honestly while traveling around the country to promote his new autobiography Man in the Middle. A new website at www.hrc.org/amaechi features Amaechi’s biography, high-resolution photos, book excerpts, book club discussion questions and more.

“I believe very strongly in the responsibility of people with power and influence to be role models,” says Amaechi. “Living more openly in the later years of my NBA career was one of the things that radically changed my life. It made me happier. I want to spread my influence in the same way that I was able to because I had a basketball in my hand. I hope now to have perhaps a different lectern to stand behind but with an equally important message.”

Amaechi will also be a featured speaker at the Human Rights Campaign’s 11th Annual Philadelphia Gala Dinner on Feb. 17, 2007. For more information contact Paul Steinke at p.steinke@att.net 215/472-5809 and to purchase tickets please visit www.boxofficetickets.com/hrc or call 800/494-TIXS (8497).

Raised in Manchester, England, Amaechi graduated from Pennsylvania State University and has played in the NBA for the Houston Rockets, the Orlando Magic, the Utah Jazz and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The HRC Coming Out Project has featured other national spokespeople including George Takei of “Star Trek,” Candace Gingrich, Betty DeGeneres and Chastity Bono. Additional information on HRC’s Coming Out Project is available at www.hrc.org/comingout.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

By:           Andrew Belonksy
On:           Feb 12, 2007
Tagged: , , , , ,
  • 5 Comments
    • Canadian
      Canadian

      Are we that self hating that we have to put every closet case has-been celebrity who’s career is over, on a pestisal.

      Isn’t it interesting that Amaechi states “I believe very strongly in the responsibility of people with power and influence to be role models. ” What power does this guy have. He had power when he was still with the NBA. Not anymore.

      Amaechi, old career is over, so now he is making his money as a gay spokeperson. Even though he didn’t want to have anything to do with us when he actually was famous

      Feb 12, 2007 at 9:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bubaloo
      bubaloo

      Are we so bitter that we can’t celebrate a person who comes out whenever he chooses to come out. It’s a process. Most of us have been through it. Remember? The last people who should be ridiculing this man are people from the gay community — unless of course you happen to be an out gay person in the NBA or NFL. He is taking a first step. Celebrate.

      This is a huge thing. For the gay and black communities. Who cares that he made money and remained closeted during the NBA. Coming out is difficult for young, old, rich or poor.

      If Ted Haggard ever decides to fully accept himself as not 100% heterosexual, I will welcome him.

      Feb 12, 2007 at 12:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • nystudman
      nystudman

      you’re barking up the wrong tree criticizing ESPN for not hyping this book. They’ve put their hype machine in overdrive!

      Feb 12, 2007 at 5:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Leland
      Leland

      Good for Amaechi, but look about a year from for the leathery, empty shell of his body after the Human Rights Champagne fund vampires have sucked him dry of all his ability to make money for them. They’ve done it for years and years: scooping up the latest gay celebrity flavor of the month and using them to raise more money to perpetuate HRC’s existence, then dumping them when the next flavor comes along.

      Of course, well-meaning virgins to gay politics like Amaechi would never think of asking for something in return, like a stipend while he’s willingly pimping for them. Nor does HRC do anything to cultivate them as spokespeople for the movement so that they have some kind of shelf life—not just for them, many of which end up with low paying jobs after they come but also for the movement. We could really use instead of the gays for hire on their expensive payroll such as Joe Solomnese. Have you HEARD/SEEN this mouse talk? And what is it about his mouth? Did he lose a great deal of weight resulting in extra skin around his lips?

      We DO need heroes, of all kinds. We don’t need boring HRC bureaucrats.

      Feb 12, 2007 at 7:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dele
      Dele

      Please, I had heard of John. But was not a follower of his career. I am happy that he has come out….we are of the same background ..BLACK ,BRITISH ,GAY OF NIGERIAN EXTRACTION. His Ibo & mine yoruba.

      I would love to meet this great man…………….
      & I call those that use religion as a bases for being homophobic as spineless. They choose hate, but don’t have the balls to just say ” I HATE GAYS PERIOD” instead of this bulshit the bible says it’s wrong…………………

      Peace A GAY MAN WHO THINKS THE BIBLE IS FULL OF CRAP & BULSHIT

      Feb 19, 2007 at 7:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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