To football player Roddy White, the difference between winning and losing is as stark as the difference between being straight or gay.
In response to a fan’s question (“You would rather lead the league in stats than win a Super Bowl???”) Atlanta Falcons wide receiver tweeted back in kind a “masterful” rhetorical question: “Would u rather be gay or straight come on u know that answer.”
Would you rather use punctuation marks or not? Come on, you know that answer.
Instead of apologizing quickly to defuse the situation, OutSports notes that Roddy is digging himself a deeper hole by squealing about “freedom of speech.” He tweeted in response to outrage: “Freedom of speech. I don’t care how much money I make. I should be held to my own standards and not the standards of others opinion.
#WereHoldingYouAccountable, not trying to silence you, bro. And as an influential, moneymaking black fellow, we’d ask you to think twice about the power of what you say.
This is the only apology Roddy has issued thus far: “Ok people I apologize for saying the word gay I know it’s a sensitive subject and a [sic] athlete of my stature should not use it.” (And yes, the photo at right is Roddy’s actual Twitter profile pic, lolz.)
The worst part about this whole kerfuffle is that White didn’t get called out by any of his bros for his not-cool words, as you can see below. In order to deal with language like this, we need Roddy’s peers to come out and tell him: This is not about fans or haters, this is about being respectful of LGBT people. People who have not chosen their sexuality, but were born this way. And enjoy the happy accident that they were. I personally wouldn’t trade my life as a gay man for anything in the world, though there were some hard times in middle and high school.
It’s time for Roddy’s teammates and athletic colleagues to wise up and tell him: Change your speech. Meet some gay people. You might just find that you like them. And to all the football players hiding in the closet, come out. We’ll welcome you.