Friday, February 09, 2007

When push comes to Shav

The pro sports world was mildly rocked with the news that retired NBA player John Amaechi will come out with a book in which he, um, comes out.

When retired athletes admit their sexuality, which is far too rare, there's always some criticism that they'd make a statement if they came out while still playing. What those critics fail to realize is that these athletes ARE making a statement by waiting until retirement. Essentially, they've decided that most pros are too small-minded to be ready for that announcement.

I don't know if Amaechi is saying that, but if he were, he wouldn't be wrong. Outsports has compiled a list of reactions from people in the league and the sports media. These quotes run the full range (rainbow?) from supportive to businesslike to dismissive to critical to ignorant. The best ones -- in a "did they really say that?" kind of way -- try to be supportive but end up sounding offensive, like this quote from former Duke player Shavlik Randolph:

"As long as you don't bring your gayness on me I'm fine. As far as business-wise, I'm sure I could play with him. But I think it would create a little awkwardness in the locker room."

Way to take a stand and represent the Duke blue, Shav. We save a little face thanks to Grant Hill:

"The fact that John has done this, maybe it will give others the comfort or confidence to come out as well, whether they are playing or retiring."

I searched the news in vain for a reaction from the even more quotable and diplomatic Shane Battier. Maybe he's working behind the scenes with Amaechi to develop some progressive grassroots support for the inevitable Battier presidential campaign.

Finally, a moderate kudos go to ESPN Books, which publishes Amaechi's book later this month. I realize that their decision isn't entirely altruistic -- sports books probably sell better when there's social controversy -- but they deserve some credit for looking past sports historians and die-hard fans in pursuing new audiences.

55 Fiction Friday thinks most locker room activity is kinda gay.

How could those Internet forum members burn me like that? After years of providing helpful information, some brash newcomers started casually dismissing me.

I posted my retaliatory missive, careful not to say anything personal that would get me banned. And then I waited.

Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.

Nothing! Man, it's hard to deal with online anger.


Andy said...

What exactly does it mean to "bring your gayness" on someone? Would it be like if we were in the locker room and I said, "Hey, last night on tv they showed that famous clip from the Ed Sullivan show where Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand made a duet out of 'Happy Days are Here Again'," and you said, "Aw, man, I told you not to bring your gayness on me"?

Neel Mehta said...

Welcome, Andy. Any friend of Quinn's is, well, probably some Cascadian hippie.

Who knows? I like your definition, but I suspect Shav's talking about teabagging.

Blue said...

Wow...Shav is a real arse.

Neel Mehta said...

Yep, and you better not bring your gayness onto it.

bdure said...

Few people are giving the full Shav quote, which includes something about not judging people because he's Christian. (That part, at least, was kind of refreshing.)

But yeah -- "bring your gayness"? It's not contagious. I knew a couple of people who called themselves "gay" to fit in with the drama crowd, but that's not quite the same.