Thursday, February 15, 2007

Man in the Middle

I'd heard about John Amaechi's book Man in the Middle coming out recently. He literally comes out as one of only four men, to this point, in the major American sports (basketball, baseball, football, hockey) to admit that he is a gay man.

Of course he's been out of basketball for a few years now. I can't imagine the type of scrutiny that he would've suffered if he disclosed his sexuality when he was an active player. Actually I do. Perhaps some players would've stuck by his side, but I'm sure he would have been ostracized.

When his book came out I thought--well we know that there are much more gay men in organized sports. People might not be comfortable with that notion, kind of a don't ask don't tell mentality. I didn't think he was a big enough name to really illicit attention.

A few players have been asked questions, none really taking the bait. Well that is until Tim Hardaway, former Miami Heat/Golden State Warrior, made the statement below Tuesday on a Miami radio broadcast. I'm including an excerpt from a posting I found on ABC News:

"You know, I hate gay people," Hardaway said during an interview on "790 the Ticket."

"You know, I let it be known I don't like gay people. I don't like to be around gay people,"


"First of all, I wouldn't want him on my team," he said. "I think the majority of the players would ask for him to be traded or they would want to get traded."

The show's host said: "You know that what you're saying there though, Timmy, is flatly homophobic."

Hardaway replied, "I am homophobic. So yeah, I don't like it."

When reading the article I learned that Shaquille Oneal has given his support to John Amaechi. Shaq has always been his own man. I'm not surprised by the support from the gentle giant.

Hardaway offered an expected apology after all of the heat he's been taking regarding his comments. I know that Commissioner David Stern issued a statement that the NBA in no way backs the comments made by Tim Hardaway.

"I want to apologize for my comments … regarding gays. My comments were offensive and I regret making them. I'm sorry to anyone I have offended."

The sentiments expressed by Tim Hardaway, though offensive, are probably reflective of how a good percentage of organized athletes would react to having a gay team-mate. Hardaway expressed his opinion in a public forum, with a lack of sensitivity. However, that is his opinion, and though I don't share his sentiments I think he has the right to express it.

Perhaps Tim putting his foot in his mouth will open up dialogue where more players feel comfortable about expressing their reaction to the thought of having a homosexual team-mate. I can only hope that people discussing such an issue, and John being courageous enough to broach this issue, will help people to be more open-minded towards homosexuality.

Finally, I did notice a couple of people took a look at his picture (had this conversation earlier today at work) and I didn't hear anyone say well you could tell he was gay (from how he looked). I haven't heard any of his former team-mates assert anything along those lines either. I think people who might have not been exposed to (or more likely not aware that they were being exposed to)--can see that being gay has little to do with feminine or masculine traits, but with who you'd invite to your bed.


Al said...

I agree that he has a right to his own opinion....oh sheesh I guess I should just cut and paste that email I wrote to you about it, LOL:

here's the thing. I realize not everyone is ok with that lifestyle. To a certain degree I find that really sad, because to me, tolerating people of the gay persuasion is like tolerating people of any other racial, religious, ethnic or whatever persuasion. The fact that people are intolerant makes me feel really bad. I do, however, realize that for a lot of people their intolerance has a religious base for it, and there are a lot of religious that say that all kinds of different things either aren't "holy" or "natural" So to not be comfortable with homosexuality is something I can understand when you're coming from that perspective. Basically I want us all to get along and ignore the differences because we are all just people walking around with the same damn genes, just variations on a theme. I do understand why that can't happen.

what is not ok is to be in public and just outwardly say "I hate gay people" You just don't do that. You don't say that about anyone. You don't say "I hate white people, I hate black people, I hate Jews, I hate Catholics, I hate New Yorkers, I hate Iowans." It's just not done! To me it shows a lack of understanding, ignorance and lack of class. It would be one thing if this was a cry for help, but it's not. He then went on to clarify. I thought maybe he would make his statement appear better, but he didn't. He was like "oh if I had a gay family member I wouldn't talk to them" Wow. That sucks.

I will sum it up this way: Hardaway should meet some more gays. He hasn't met enough clearly. I also believe there is an egotistical basis to his beliefs (and I think this of probably all the prosports players) he thinks he's that hot that his gay teammate couldn't keep his hands/eyes off of him. Which is exactly why he needs to meet more gay men, so he can get that not every gay dude in the world is trying to get a piece. God. I know this because I was around plenty of lesbians at Smith and NEVER GOT HIT ON. Of course this was for a long time a source of great disappointment (aka aren't I hot enough?) but when someone explained that I had too straight a vibe to get hit on, then I understood. Sigh. Don't hate, gays are great.

crazy Theresa said...

Jamaalaya, I finally was able to check out your blog and am delighted that you shared it with me. I like that each post is on a different track so it's like a jambalaya of sorts (get the pun?). I definitely plan to check this site often to see what you've been musing about. You go. I'm proud of you. - from Theresa Montoya (aka the one you'll never see at FOF again but I'm sure around a street corner as soon as you mention my name).

Excalibur said...

Al, I meant to comment on your comment. I agree with you Some times people operate at a subconscious level and the diarhea of the mouth reveals their real feelings. I think I'd rather know what lies beneath than to see a facade. I still think Tim is a moron though, LOL.

Crazy Theresa I'm so glad that you've read it--and that you weren't afraid to leave proof that you visisted. I'm so excited!

This blog is like me, some times focused--other times random.

It really is a piece of me!

Cynthia said...

Good post.