As He Retires, Tennis Icon James Blake Speaks Out Against Russia’s Anti-Gay Law


I think everyone at this point, when you look at numbers, someone in your circle, whether it’s a family member or a friend, is gay, transgender, or bisexual. You should appreciate that those people are valued members of society, people that are doing something good in the world. They should feel comfortable to live their lives. I think any sort of policy that discriminates against them, that excludes them, is completely unfair in today’s day and age. That’s why I say we’re 50 years out and there are still things going on that are discriminatory.”

James Blake, 33, condemning Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law after his first round loss at the U.S. Open, which he said would be his final tournament (via The Journal Gazette).

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  • Fitz

    I just fell in love with him.
    I always admired him for being such a stubborn fighter,especially with the scoliosis thing.

    and now his logical and clear and grounded support make me
    just want to .. I don’t know… buy him a beer, lol.

  • Kangol

    Thank you for speaking out, James Blake. You’re dreamy. (I wish you’d won more big ones, though, but nevertheless, thank you.)

  • Tackle

    Beautifully stated from such a beautiful man. I wish we would show our straight allies some love and appreciation. If he would have said something anti GLBTQ, there would be 15 or more posters condemning him.

  • BrandoPolo

    Wonderful statement. But who is this “tennis icon” James Blake? I only know of “middling also-ran tennis player” James Blake?

  • Caleb in SC

    @BrandoPolo: As much as I appreciate his fine words, James Blake is no tennis icon. He never won a major.

  • Tackle

    @BrandoPolo: @CalebSC: Gentlemen, James Blake is definately a “tennis icon.” Winning a major does not make someone a icon. Many have won majors and have been total jerks. Not standing for anything and are surely not speaking out for GLBTQ rights. He’s a tennis icon because he used his talents as a tennis player to make life better and eaiser for others. He’s def: a icon to the many underprivledged kids in Harlem where he tirelessly gave free clinics. He’s an icon and inspiration to the millions who have Scoliosis, because he was diagnosed at 13 with a severe case of it. And had to wear a full-lenght back brace for 18hrs a day. Showing that a career as a professional athelete is still possible. In 2004 James fractured his neck. Then his father lost his battle with stomach cancer. And James contracted Zosters that left the half of his face paralyzed. Through all that, he still came back to play “professional” tennis. I’m sure to him his health is more important than winning any major. And many times one can accomplish greater things off and away from a tennis court.

  • BrandoPolo

    Martin Luther King accomplished greater things off the court than any tennis player has on the court, but that does not make MLK a “tennis icon.”

    James Blake may be a “good guy icon” but a tennis icon he is not.

  • BrandoPolo

    This is semantic hair-splitting though, admittedly. He made an awesome statement, that’s the real point.

  • Tackle

    All someone has to do is look up the word icon to see what it means.
    Webster’s Dictionary : “icon” An important and enduring symbol. Or, One who is the object of great attention and devotion. An odol. Nowhere will it be found that to be an icon, or tennis icon, at least one Grand Slam has or had to have been won. Only place you will find that is here among some Queerty posters who want to be dense headed, stubborn and put their own spin on words and meanings. Ironically, if a poll was done and a large number of tennis players, recreational, collegent, and professional ,that in order for a professional tennis player to be considered an icon, a Grand Slam must be or had to have been won, I bet the overwhelming majority would say NO.

  • BrandoPolo

    @Tackle: Actually, if you did a poll of tennis players and tennis devotees and asked them if James Blake is a “tennis icon” I’m certain the overwhelming majority would say NO.

  • darkorient

    To be there in his position in world tennis is an achievement by itself. Thank you for the support, James Blake!

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