2.13.2007

breaking the silence

the title of that post is much more dramatic than it needs to be. anyways, as you know i am a terrible blogger these days, i've really missed the window on the superbowl, but i had nothing different to say than anyone else...game sucked, commercials sucked, prince rocked, and rex grossman sucked. but i did want to weigh in on the whole john amaechi coming out of the closet thing. if you don't follow sports, a former NBA player, (and i use the term "player" loosely as he was in the NBA for all of five years averaging a whopping 6.2 points a game) came out of the closet, told everyone he was gay, is going on a book tour, etc. etc. again i have nothing new to add to the usual commentary, but i did want to point out a couple of things about the coverage. mainly, that this all sounds familiar. like other forms of journalism, sports journalism has seen a marked decline in quality and originality, (see anna nicole smith coverage). after amaechi came out, you heard the exact same arguments....that america is ready for a gay pro athlete, that current players would be okay with it, except in the showers (what a ridiculous argument), that so and so would not be okay with it, etc. etc. etc.

my point is, that the way this stuff is covered prevents any kinds of real examination of the issue. why haven't any of the major columnists pointed out that gays in women sports are muc much much more accepted than in male sports. why don't they make the connection that it is because of the hyper masculine discourse that is so important to sports. why don't they talk about the fact that sports has an extremely bad track record with homophobia. why don't they make the connection between the fact that most of the players who most violently oppose gays in the lockerrooms are all christian. why don't they say, that homophobia is rooted deeply in several variations of ridiculous religious laws. why don't they call for the NBA to make a definitive statement that they would welcome any gay players and would sanction any players or teams who discriminated or harrassed gay players?

do you see what i'm getting at? it really does us no good to publish these stories or write about them unless good questions and discussion arise from it. but the mainstream press can't be bothered with this kind of thing. all they can do is cover the sensational moment that comes to pass after the initial announcement, then the columnists spout out the same tired cliches that we heard when that guy in the NFL came out.

i'm kind of whining, i know, but it's become harder for me to take any kind of sports journalism seriously. maybe the lines between entertainment world, the commercial world, and the sports worlds have become so blurred that basically, i feel like following professional sports is like following proctor and gamble. the point is, ESPN.com should let me write a column about this whole thing. but since i'm such a terrible blogger, this will never come to pass. this post was pointless. i'm gonna stop right now.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

1. why don't they make the connection that it is because of the hyper masculine discourse that is so important to sports?

- That all depends on which sport your talking about.

why don't they talk about the fact that sports has an extremely bad track record with homophobia?

- Again, it depends on the sport. There are several openly gay figure skaters that compete at the top level, and the greatest American diver of all time, Greg Louganis, may not have been openly gay, but no one was going out of their way to hide that fact.

why don't they make the connection between the fact that most of the players who most violently oppose gays in the lockerrooms are all christian?

- Do we have quotes from athletes that are Christian (or that claim to be Christian) in which they violently oppose gays in lockerrooms? I'd like to see them, because I haven't heard any of them. This is a serious question: I'm not intending to call you out... I really haven't heard any because I haven't been paying attention to the issue.

why don't they say, that homophobia is rooted deeply in several variations of ridiculous religious laws?

- So which are you opposed to - the laws, or the religions, and on what grounds? Further, from a purely Darwinistic standpoint, that which is incapable of reproducing would be considered refuse. There is an equally valid case that a naturalistic framework is just as damning of homosexual behaviors.

why don't they call for the NBA to make a definitive statement that they would welcome any gay players and would sanction any players or teams who discriminated or harrassed gay players?

- Why should the NBA have to? Has there been a test case of an individual who has come out only to be ridiculed and rebuked by teammates?

Ian said...

Sorry, Bob. That one was from me.

Bob said...

hi ian! i must say despite our ideological differences, i very much appreciate you because i'm pretty sure that i can say that you are my most faithful reader, even despite the fact that i suck at this blogging thing. the other thing is that you often help to crystallize my thinking.

what i was really trying to say is that i have a beef with the big sports columnists. my feeling is that many of these columnists are trying to portray themselves as socially progressive by writing columns about this thing. the problem is that they write the same thing over and over, and if they were really progressive, they would do a better job of trying to get at the root of the problem. yes, it is a slippery slope since none of these columnists every out and out say that they are sympathetic to GLBT issues, however, they do issue the standard, "it shouldn't matter if someone is gay or not", and to me this is analagous to the philosophy of colorblindness, which as you have probably figured out, is a philosophy that i can't get behind because it implicitly claims that racism has ended, when it is alive and well. by glossing over the issue of masculinity in sports, they are also implicitly granting approval of the current ethos of discrimination against gays.

to answer your questions, yes, it does depend on the sports, but my question is why hasn't the acceptance in other sports crossed over into the three (or four if you count hockey, which i don't) major sports in this country.

of course, as you can guess, i have not done the study, but the super outspoken athletes like reggie white used religion to justify their bigotry. i actually have always wondered the role that religion plays in black folks world views and since a good majority of african-americans are affiliated with protestant evangelical churches, it would be a reasonable supposition that this might make them more anti-gay. same for hispanic folks who are overwhelmingly catholic. someone should do a study on this, if it already hasn't been done. you are right for calling me out on the whole religous laws thing, because it goes much further than that. but as mentioned before it is often used a justification of bigotry.

and lastly, the official organization response by the NBA could help truly pull the question to the forefront, and consequently, help put it to bed. as always, they are conspicuously quiet about the whole thing. we have no test case, because the nature of the beast does much to inhibit any of those gay athletes to come out. because the NBA hasn't said anything about this, those in the closet assume, and i think rightly so, that they'll be subject to the same discrimination and harassment that they face in everyday life. so they don't come out. by not taking an official stance, the cycle is perpetuated.

as always, it's great to discuss these things with someone who likes to rationally discuss things. you're the good kind of conservative, and if more people had these discussion on blogs, then there might be peace in the middle east. just kidding, but thanks for reading ian.

Tiger Woods said...

Dear Bob,

I am gay.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Prince said...

Dear Bob,

I hate gay people.

You're welcome.