Thursday, February 15, 2007

John Amaechi and Tim Hardaway

Last week, former NBA player, John Amaechi came out of the closet, confessing that he is gay. He is not the first former pro athlete to admit to their homosexuality. As of yet, no male athlete has come out of the closet (or been outed) during their playing time. For some reason, there is much less stigma on female athletes who are lesbian. Martina Navratilova is perhaps the most notable tennis star to come out, while there are a number of golfers and WNBA player Cheryl Swoopes who have as well.

With Amaechi's statement came the inevitable questions of can a current player come out as gay? If the percentages that people throw out there of the number of gay people in the world, it would be logical to assume that a number of athlete's lean in that direction. However, as of yet, no current male athlete has come out of the closet. Tim Hardaway's statement that he hates gay people, while most athlete's would probably say that they are wrong and hateful, probably reflect what many athletes are really thinking. There is no way a homosexual man would survive in a locker room today. If one person says it, a thousand are thinking it. Whether the statements are right or not isn't the issue. He is voicing the thoughts of 95% of the players in the NBA and 95% of the players in the NFL, and 95% of the players in MLB, and 95% of the players in the NHL. As liberal and tolerant as the world is today, especially compared to a few years ago, we are a long way from the wider athletic world accepting a homosexual. I think sports is a microcosm of the rest of America, maybe even the whole world. While personally, I don't condone the homosexual lifestyle, I feel that Hardaway's comments are bigoted and hateful. Attitudes like this are why many homosexuals feel hated a rejected by society. Unfortunately, I think this hatred is pervasive in our society at large.

I didn't want to comment on Amaechi's statement because I think part of it was an attempt to sell books and get his name out there. I personally don't care whether he's gay or not. I mean honestly, what has he ever done to merit this much attention? Nothing. He was a spare baller and his book would probably never have even been written were it now for this "news." However, Hardaway's comments put it all in a different light in my opinion and I'm interested in knowing your thoughts.

In an related note, in this day and age of the Internet and ESPN, I am shocked every time an athlete really says what he's thinking. We clamor for an athlete to say something more than "We just gotta take it one game at a time and the good Lord willing everything will work out in the end" and "I'm just going out there to play my best and help the team win." But whenever an athlete actually says anything other than that, they get ripped to no end and it all ends up on the bulletin board. What shocks me more than what was said, is that he said anything about it all. I don't condone Hardaway's statements, but at least he didn't take the easy way out. However, misguided he may have been, he definitely spoke his mind and this is what we want from out athlete's.


PJ said...

I read something about Amaechi's comments on what Hardaway had said, and he said that he was glad Tim was honest. He thought the comments were biggoted (they were), and hateful (they were), but that he was honest and he had to give him that. I agree that this all seems to be a publicity stunt and that's what bothers me the most about it. It just happens to occur right before the All-Star game in Vegas? hmm.. convenient.

Steve Cloud said...

Right on Rus! Nice post. Hey, we kind of lost touch when you moved. I'm heading to NYC next month with my group. Give me buzz sometime. My cell number is still the same!