John Amaechi also made an appearnace at the Log Cabin Republican’s national convention. While there, the 36-year old former basketball player told the audience he’s been pleasantly surprised by the positive support he’s received:
I underestimated America. I braced myself for the wrath of a nation under God. I imagined that it would be a firestorm, that it would be some insane number of letters demanding my deportation or my death.
And in fact, 95 percent of the correspondence I’ve had have been overwhelmingly supportive and positive. But I will say that the 5 percent that I’ve had have been unbelievably, viscerally, frighteningly negative.
Amaechi also took a second to mention the surprising lack of support from his former jock comrades:
Probably 30 of my former [NBA] teammates have my e-mail and my telephone contacts and probably 16 or so of those I was in regular touch with and there are probably 10 people who I have [on instant messenger]. And zero — nobody — who’s active in the NBA has been in touch with me since the day I came out, despite the fact that most of them knew I was gay in the first place.
Amaechi also wondered why NBA.com never mentioned his coming out, although he’s quick to mention that the sports world is not the bellwether for social change…
It’s absurd to think that a sports star coming out would change anti-gay minds:
I’ve spent a lot of time in this country and I do adore it on many levels, but we live in a country where a man can be lured to a parking lot, beaten and chased to his death on a freeway. We live in a country where a shoeless child can be strapped to a fence post and left to die. … And yet somehow we expect that the general public will sit up and pay attention when they can focus on ‘Gay Shaq.’
I don’t understand that. What happens to human empathy when the death of children, of innocents, do not inspire the kind of change we’re looking for?
Damn straight. Or, rather, damn gay.
‘I underestimated America’ [Sports Illustrated]