NBA's John Amaechi Comes Out by Cyd Zeigler Jr. & Jim Buzinski, Outsports.com
February 5, 2007
(New York City) John Amaechi, a former player with the Orlando Jazz and Orlando Magic, has become the first NBA player to come out as gay.
Amaechi will announce publicly for the first time that he is gay on an episode of ESPN's "Outside The Lines" to air Feb. 13, Outsports has learned. His book, published by ESPN Books, "Man In The Middle," in which he chronicles his NBA career and directly addresses the travails of being a closeted professional athlete, will be released the following week.
<<Sometimes, I think we all take ourselves too seriously. Lighten up folks! >> Well...yeah Jim I agree, ... FIRST one to laugh at myself and others ... under the surface, it bothered me a little.
I tend to agree with TJ here ...
Once again in mass media, the negative socio-political statement was made and reinforced that, the act of two adult males engaged in, or even accidentally nearing the engagement of an "intimate act" is presented as disturbingly abhorrent and deviantly unacceptable. As such, the "act", and anyone who engages in such an act is, with amusingly acceptable permission, deemed reject-able. That the advertisement was broadcast during one of the most important and highly watched "masculine" sports events of the year ... a coincidence?
Every subculture may, and often does, find self-aware or self-defining humor within its own social arena funny. But when the same humor finds a place in other arenas, humor becomes the other edge of the sword. The media, regardless of venue, is a tool ...
Within a baseball stadium a bat aggressively swung is a tool that can result in a winning point home-run for the opposing side, and actuate much cheering, joy and satisfaction. On a city street or an isolated country road, the same bat can produce a different affect of equal joy and satisfaction ...
Post by 1dbigjim563 on Feb 7, 2007 13:20:33 GMT -5
Well I see you points, but I still thought it was funny.
I saw it more as a commentary on the stupidity of some het males. I suppose it depends on your perspective. I didn't see any of the alternative endings, so I don't know what they implied. And the fact is, no matter how socially neutral we might become in that Utopian future, I suspect that two hetero males would still feel some discomfort when suddenly and unexpectantly finding themselves in a Gay situation.
How many of you would be that comfortable if the roles were reversed?
Those sort of rude awakenings, uncomfortable juxt a positions are at the root of a great deal of humor.
I somehow can't quite buy into that commerceial fostering an atmosphere of hatred and bigotry that would lead to taking a bat to someone's head. I also think that young people coming out today do it at a much earlier age than many of us, because they're a lot savier than we were at their age. I'm not sure that commercial would have sent that big of a message to them, but that's just my opinion, and since I'm not charging anything for it, take it for what it's worth.
Just to continue with the Colts and Tony Dungy, etc,etc.....
An interesting article/blog regarding Tony Dungy being honored by the AFI in Indiana. At some point someone is going to ask Dungy his views on gays, gay marriage and other issues related to gay people. I wonder how he'll answer. If he's really Christian, he'll say the correct things. If he's a neanderthal Christian, he'll spew the party line. Let's see what happens. The line in the sand is drawn!
After a couple of months of speculation, we finally have the NBA player who was supposed to come out. It turns out that he's no longer active but in this day and age, it's understandable. To add to the Outsports article that flblue09 [/b]previewed above, heres an article I got from Southern Voice regarding John Amaechi. By the way, if you can do it.....try to watch ESPN on when he appears and talks about his coming out. (Sorry about the large photo. Wasn't able to resize it. Not that that's a bad thing. He's a handsome man. )
I made the response I did about the Dungys being a great family to work with in spite of the magnitude and press interest surrounding the circumstances. and the way that I felt I was respected for how I conducted a full and thorough investigation. This was a comment to be taken at face value. Coach Dungy or his families beliefs about homosexuality were never brought to light because it was not an issue. I have said before and still try to follow the belief that anyone I deal with is equal to myself until they prove themselves otherwise by words or actions. If I learn that they consider homosexuals to be unworthy of having the same rights as heterosexuals (and I'm not saying I expect them to become activists for the cause), then they will lose my respect. I would hope to keep my opinion of this family, but it sure wouldn't be the first or last time I was proven wrong. I may be an optimist, but not so much of one that I won't change my opinion after learning more information.
If I was conducting an investigation like the one you were involved in, obviously I'd conduct it with all fairness and professionalism expected. I know that's how you did it. No question. And even if Dungy had previously stated some kind of uncomfort with gays (which he didn't) I know you'd conduct your investigation exactly the same way. One's personal feelings shouldn't impact an investigation, as we all know. But if he had expressed some bad feelings towards gays, given his overall personality (being a nice guy and all), I'd probably feel more sorry for him for being misguided in his prejudice. I wouldn't want to get too close to him but I'd still do the job I was supposed to do. But at this point, it's all moot, isn't it? He hasn't been asked (as far as I know) about any gay related topics or about his involvement if any with AFI. It may be just another honor for a public figure. He may not even know about AFI's stances. Fat chance, but possible. I guess maybe we'll find out in a few weeks. I'm sure this award ceremony will be monitored by GLBT organizations in Indiana.
Referring to Amaechi's coming out, this article questions why players don't come out when "active" instead of when retired. Hey...if Jackie Robinson could break a major barrier, why can't a gay player be as heroic as Jackie??
<How many of you would be that comfortable if the roles were reversed?>
Well, Jim, I've experienced the reversal. Well it was intentional on the unattractive woman's part, but not on my part obviously. Yes I did feel unconfortable. But I didnt feel a need to smash her head underneath the hood of a car like the Snickers alternate ending suggests as a solution.
If they had done the commercial a little more smartly, it could have been a funny, thought provoking commentary. But they took that and went too far with it.
As for young people dealing with being gay better nowadays.....I think its more a function of the overall social climate being more accepting and having more examples of gay role models being visible or talked about. I dont think its that kids now are more saavy, just they have a better environment to figure it all out in. When I started figuring things out, I didnt have anything but rupaul and liberace to look at. hehehe No t.v. shows with gay main characters. And I think kids/young adults today may not have a sense of how much harder the environment used to be. I was talking with one guy who couldnt understand why people rarely came out in major positions back in the day. I tried explaining how the environment was different, and he basically told me that was B.S. and that it was just as easy then as now. The irony is that guy isnt even fully out himself. Kids........
In respect to gay professional athletes coming out, but only after they are done playing......
With all due respect, there never was a decision for Jackie Robinson to make about whether or not to "come out" as a black man. He never had a choice, everyone could see it from day one. I'm not saying that to talk bad about him, but to point out you are comparing apples to oranges when drawing comparisons between gay athletes and Robinson.
That being said, I obviously would love to see athletes start to come out while still active in their sport. Thing is, unless they were a real star of their sport, I think theyd get run out of town and made to feel unwelcome. Now if a major star came out, that would do wonders, and would probably even make the bigots keep their mouths closed for no other reason that they realize that guy can help them win, and wouldnt want the team to lose if the star left.
Somehow, Basketball has pushed it's way into this thread! Maybe I'll start a new one to highlight professional players who are gay or who've come out. In the meantime....regarding John Amaechi....
KNICKS ADDRESS AMAECHI ISSUE
By BRIAN LEWIS (NY Post)
February 9, 2007 -- In the wake of former NBA center John Amaechi announcing that he's gay in his upcoming book, predictably it was a topic of conversation at Knick practice yesterday, with the thought of playing with a homosexual teammate provoking a myriad of reactions.
Guard Jamal Crawford admitted it might be "a little awkward." Center Eddy Curry said he'd back a gay teammate but wouldn't comment on a gay opponent, and coach Isiah Thomas passionately called for tolerance.
...........Thomas insisted that he thought a gay player would be accepted in today's NBA.
"I think we will and I think he should," Thomas said. "We're a diverse society; we preach acceptance and we're proud of our diversity, no matter what your sexual preference may be. There's an acceptance and a tolerance level that should be everywhere. No one should be excluded." ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yay, Isaiah Thomas!! Maybe you shouldn't be fired after all!! What a statement of support! Just one thing...it's "orientation" not "preference". But, many thanks for the unconditional support. It helps when a "name" makes a statement like that!
Yes it just goes to show that a person who may have some shortcomings in his coaching/managing skills, can still have some positive traits to him as well. Kudos to him for expressing his opinion. Though to be honest, maybe his support is more self preservation, if you smell what I'm cooking. hehehe He sets off my gaydar at times. Though my gaydar is not the most reliable either.
Its always good to hear stories of people feeling comfortable enough to be open, whether as a youth on a sports team, or as an officer on a department. I'm glad to see more kids being open, and more str8 kids not caring about what someone is. Hopefully such dispositions continue to increase. Maybe these youths becoming integral members of adult society eventually will help tip the scales to where we can start seeing the GLBT community getting closer to equality.