Maybe we should thank Kobe Bryant for calling that referee a “fucking faggot” because ever since he said it, queer rights have taken center court in the American pro sports arena. In fact, five recent developments in the world of athletics have made us stand up and cheer. And even though North Carolina state basketball player CJ Leslie recently made an offensive tweet about not wanting gays in the locker room (and has since apologized for it), at least their negative publicity has gotten queer issues off the bench and onto the court. It’s making fans, players, and franchises acknowledge an issue that should have come out of the locker room a long ago.
It’s getting to a point where homophobia in sports is actively discouraged, instead of just accepted as “part of the game.” Major League Baseball fined and suspended Roger McDowell the Atlanta Braves pitching coach who allegedly hurled gay slurs at a group of fans earlier this month. Bryant’s fine and Lewis’ scolding came quick on the heels of their occurrence. That means that more sports figures now realized that anti-queer slurs no longer pass for acceptable on-field behavior—such words have consequences and bad press not only perpetuates anti-gay sentiments but also makes entire teams and franchises look bad.
Plus, some sports stars are even making pro-gay PSAs. Carolina Panthers linebacker Nic Harris just posed for Adam Boska’s NOH8 campaign and bunch of football fans have even started petitioning the San Francisco Giants to make an “It Gets Better” video. I imagine, if an entire team came out to make a pro-gay statement, an openly gay player in a major sports league couldn’t be far off.
Most recently, North Carolina State basketball star CJ Leslie tweeted that he doesn’t want gays in his locker room, an anti-gay tweet that comes on the heels of Uptown Sports President and Vice President criticizing hockey player Sean Avery for his video in support of NYC marriage equality.
NC State assistant athletic director for media relations Annabelle V. Myers released the following statement to Outsports saying NCS athletes are forbidden from giving interviews or sticking their feet any deeper into their mouth during final exams:
CJ is in exams right now and Coach Gottfried is attending ACC meetings. I will speak to CJ about this following exams and Coach Gottfried will when he returns. None of our student-athletes conduct interviews during exams. I imagine he realized that his posts were considered hurtful since I understand he took them down, but I haven’t spoken to him.
Equality NC called on Leslie to apologize and (predictably) some of Leslie’s pals have stood up for him on Twitter saying that his comments were “taken out of context”, a recent favorite thing to say whenever someone’s homophobic comments get repeated verbatim. Luckily, Leslie didn’t hold out and he did just apologize. But even so we loved what openly gay, retired NBA player John Amaechi had to say before CJ’s mea cupla:
He has already and will continue to have gay people in his locker room and while he is wondering if they are looking at his genitals, they are focused on taking his minutes and his place in the NBA.
I have heard quite a few people say we shouldn’t be penalising people like this kid and the hockey sports agent for expressing archaic views from a first amendment rights perspective.
However, I would suggest that as the incidence of these damaging and obtuse perspectives is ever increasing, we should remind those that can’t resist spewing bigotry in 140 characters, that their right to speak exposes them to of right of balanced and educated people to rip their puny logic and hypocritical perspectives to pieces and call them out as ignorant.
Oh Mr. Amaechi. You kick so much ass. Why couldn’t you have come out while you were still in the NBA?
So for those of you who weren’t paying attention: Kobe Bryant called a referee “a fucking faggot”, then the NBA slapped him with a $100,000 fine. Then offered the requisite requisite half-assed apology and claimed to have defended gay kids in grade school (which totally forgives his calling someone a “faggot” now).
To clear his name (I guess) Bryant and his teammates made a shoddy PSA telling everyone to respect everybody everywhere in the entire universe all the time no matter what, you guys! It was definitely a move in the right direction, but it still wasn’t an apology, especially considering last I heard he had appealed the $100,000 fine. Plus it had the warmth of a metal sink and the production quality of the average XTube video. But what’s awesome is that Grant Hill and Jared Dudley of the Phoenix Suns players totally showed Bryant up by making a really great PSA about NOT using gay slurs with GLSEN.
The petition is to get the San Francisco Giants baseball team to make an It Gets Better video, not the New York Giants.
Isn’t Kobe Bryant a guy who was charged with rape in Colorado? Talk about throwing stones when you yourself live in a glass house…..
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