Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Closeted no more

Former Penn State center and NBA journeyman John Amaechi came out of the closet. He wrote a book, Man in the Middle. And Page 2 columnist LZ Granderson is unimpressed. Granderson is gay and he doesn't buy the "it's tougher for an athlete" line. Granderson is also black, and that's a culture only slightly more welcoming to homosexuals than the average Church of Christ gathering. Indeed, the indication is that Granderson thinks Amaechi's a wimp:

Closeted athletes are miserable.

They have thoughts of suicide, they can't perform as well as they'd like, they live in constant anxiety of being found out, and while their heterosexual teammates are out chasing skirts during road trips, they stay locked up in their hotel rooms afraid to make eye contact with anyone because the bellhop's gaydar may go off.

Get over it.

An athlete in 2007 who stays in the closet during his playing days does more to support homophobia in sports than coming out after retirement does to combat it.

But what I am suggesting is that by not living the truth you are supporting the lie. The lie that gay men are inherently weaker than straight men. We can go in circles about whether homosexuality is a sin, but that's not what this argument is about. It's about whether a gay athlete can perform on the field or on the court at the same level of excellence and intensity as a straight athlete. I've talked to a lot athletes over the years about having a gay teammate, and their top objection is they believe a gay dude won't be able to pull his own weight. The whole shower thing is a close second.

Interesting point.

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