Tag Archives: gay rights and sports

giving gay rights a sporting chance

Here’s my recent article for In These Times that is on newsstands (where they still exist) and online as of this month!

GIVING GAY RIGHTS A SPORTING CHANCE

Before New York’s momentous legalization of marriage equality this summer, former New York Giants player David Tyree made a video with the National Organization for Marriage. “It’s a strong word,” said the wide receiver, but gay marriage is the beginning of America’s slide toward “anarchy.”

But his ominous warning may be becoming more of an exception than the rule in American locker rooms. Consider the emerging critical mass of athletes publicly supporting marriage equality and challenging homophobia: Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo and New York Rangers forward Sean Avery have made advocacy videos in Maryland and New York, respectively. Grant Hill teamed up with fellow Phoenix Suns basketball player Jared Dudley to film a “Think B4 You Speak” anti-homophobic language video in April. And several Major League Baseball teams, including the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and World Series champion San Francisco Giants, have shot videos for Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” anti-bullying campaign.

Taken together, it’s a stunning amount of support from a sports culture that has historically been mired in homophobia.

Read on … 

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kobe’s fine should fund gay rights

The NBA Playoffs begin today. But like many hoops fans, I’m still reeling from the recent regrettable actions of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant.

Earlier this week, during a highly-charged game against the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers icon, 5-time champion and perennial All-Star Kobe Bryant received a technical foul (his fifteenth of the year) from referee Bennie Olsen. Bryant then went to the bench, and proceeded to punch a chair in frustration, before uttering the homophobic slur heard ‘round the sporting world. “Hey Bennie! F____n f____t.”

The league immediately fined Bryant $100,000 for his verbal indiscretion, a move that was applauded by GLAAD (the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). “While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated,” fashion czar and league commissioner David Stern stated. “Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society.”

But while Commissioner Stern and the NBA should indeed be applauded for their swift handling of this beyond-unfortunate incident, they should not escape criticisms either.  Continue reading

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