So, the world’s buzzing over Tim Hardaway’s homophobic remarks concerning John Amaechi and the rest of Gayville. While most people, including Amaechi himself, can agree that his words will help launch a much needed discussion, others are ready to forget.
Take, for example, ESPN journalist, Gene Wojciechowski. He doesn’t seem to understand the gravity of Hardaway’s blatant bigotry, nor does he appreciate the magnitude of Amaechi’s coming out. Wojciechowski starts by stating the fact that there are gays in every profession, but this declaration then becomes the crux of a seriously misguided argument. While he concedes Hardaway’s words pack a punch, Wojciechowski doesn’t seem to think they’re newsworthy. He writes:
The news isn’t that Amaechi is gay and wrote a book about it. The news isn’t that Tim Hardaway is a self-confessed homophobic and told a radio sports talk-show host about it. The news is that it won’t be news a week from now. And that’s a good thing.
Is it? Because we tend to agree with Amaechi when he says Hardaway’s comments should open the way for a more honest, progressive dialogue. But, Wojciechowski doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the p-word. Or maybe he just doesn’t want it. From the sound of his argument, he’d prefer a little stagnant balance.
Hardaway simply gave his prejudice a name and a face for a news cycle or two. His bigotry, as well as his apology, will be forgotten, as it should be… His opinion is shared by others, but the good news here — the only news here — is that there are enough other voices to counter the homophobic screed.
There always will be intractable people such as Hardaway — and Amaechi no doubt has the letters to prove it. But it’s easier to pay less attention to Hardaway’s nonsense because, in the end, his hatred doesn’t matter. And one of these days, neither will Amaechi’s homosexuality.
Well, maybe not on a small scale, but we have a feeling Amaechi’s homosexuality ranks a little higher than, say, Neil Patrick Harris‘ (TR Knight‘s a slightly different story).
You see, Mr. W, athleticism has a long history of building national identity. Romans celebrated the Olympics, while the Germans gave new meaning to the gymnasium. America’s no different.
Thousands upon thousands of kids (and even adults) have posters of their favorite sports heroes – they idolize these people and to have one of their sport idols comes out, we think, has much more impact on their social views than if they hear about Lance Bass sucking dick. No one expects it, so the revelation resonates. It rings even louder when someone like Hardaway shows their true colors. Then we have a rift, with some players celebrating Amaechi, while other admonish him, leading fans to actually consider both sides of the debate. In a few short weeks (nay, hours), the great gay debate has moved from the polling station to the bleachers.
So, Wojciechowski, we’re afraid we have to disagree with you when you write:
I don’t need any more heartfelt disclosures from the Amaechis of the world. Been there, read that. That’s because we live in different, more enlightened times now. Perfect? No. Better? Yes.
It’s not my fault Hardaway didn’t get the memo.
Or, maybe he’s speaking a different language.
Now, please excuse us while we step down from our soap box.