I didn’t ask so dont tell me…
Don’t ask don’t tell is the NFL’s Policy. The Military and the U.S. Scouts group also have a similar policy. This policy basically states if I don’t ask you then don’t tell me. Ask what? Are you a hetero or homosexual? This is one of the biggest swept under the rug issues in all professional male sports. Oh you don’t believe me? Ever heard of the Gay and Lesbians Athletics Foundation? I’ll wait…………………………… Me either!
It seems there are more and more athletes opening up about their homosexuality after retiring from professional sports such as Esera Tuaolo, David Kopay, Roy Simmons and John Amaechi just to name a few. The question remains why wait until after you’re retired to open up about your sexual preference instead of while you’re still active in the sport? Is it because of the backlash they may receive from the public, the media frenzy it would cause, the potential of bringing chaos in the locker rooms, or simply because it could affect your income?
Is there a difference between being openly gay in team sports and individual sports such as tennis and boxing. Would being gay be easier to accept it if the athlete wasn’t a part of a team sport? Why aren’t gay special interest groups out making a big deal about players not being open about their sexual preference? Maybe they are but since Gays only make up about 4% of the nation we just never hear about it. How would it affect the marketability of that said individual or team he’s apart of? There are a lot of questions that could be asked but who’s willing to step up and answer them? The problem is a lot of folks are uncomfortable talking about this issue. You can only push it to the side for so long before its actually slapping you in the face demanding an answer. You have gay actors, TV, radio personalities, comedians, and entertainers singing the praise about being gay every opportunity they get air and face time (no pun).. For some reason feeling it’s necessary that everyone knows how proud they are to be gay. It’s almost like they are trying to force it on you to accept it. Does it bother me? Nope not at all! At the same time I don’t run around acting all straight and macho to prove that I’m a heterosexual. It’s just what I am and nobody has to accept that but me.
I believe the problem with gay male athletes is the fear of not being accepted by their peers and the affects it could have on their livelihood. For example, say a high profile athlete on the same level as a Lebron James or Tiger Woods with major endorsement deals with companies such as Degree Deodorant or Nike all of a sudden announce they are gay. This dude has his own shoe out and has been doing masculine deodorant commercials. Do the companies drop their contracts or do they stay with the athlete. How many homophobic men are going to continue to purchase Degree Deodorant if a gay man is modeling or the spokes person for it? If the company decides to drop the male athlete because of him being gay they will never hear the end of it from gay activist groups. They will be boycotting and picketing their corporate offices in a heartbeat. It would be so many people out there gay and straight you’d think they were giving away free turkeys to the homeless on Thanksgiving in Harlem. What a bind that company would be in. That’s a lose lose situation for them for that company.
In my opinion being gay in an individual sports would be accepted before it would be in team sports. Take boxing for instance, its nowhere like football where you have to share locker rooms with teammates. It’s just you and your camp of individuals who accept you for whom and what you are and have one common goal, to become Champion. Say you have a fighter that’s a legit champion, he’s out and charismatic about his sexuality. He may be considered a hero to the gay community. I doubt other boxers would refuse to fight him because at the end of the day everybody is in it for the money and boxing is the hurt business. You are in that ring to deliver punishment, not worry about if he’s trying to get sneak feels in the clinch. Could you imagine the trash talk and prefight build up though? It would be insane! One interesting thing would be to see how the gay special interest groups react to a fighter dissing the openly gay boxer. It would be complicated because boxers, for the most part, are tough guys from bad neighborhoods where gay slurs are commonly used to denigrate another person. So what would these special interest groups do? Would they really be naive enough to try and change the mentality of these boxers? An example of trash talking going wrong in a combat sport is Benny Paret vs. Emile Griffen. Griffen was an openly gay boxing champion and Paret was a brash Hispanic fighter. During the prefight build up Paret called Griffen a maricón, the Spanish equivalent of “faggot” and Griffen went after him immediately. It took both camps and security to break them apart. Come fight night, Griffen had Paret pinned against the ropes and out of his feet, instead of backing off and letting the referee stop the fight he kept punching Paret and eventually beat him to death inside of the ring. Blood testing would definitely be an issue as well. Look at why Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao haven’t fought yet, the testing. Think where a fighter could go with the whole blood testing for not only PED’s (performance enhancing drugs) but AIDS and HIV as well. Do you know how offensive that can be? Hey it’s more than likely necessary though.
Sports period has this unwritten rule for athletes to exhibit masculinity as much as possible, so Im sure the world isn’t ready to accept openly gay athletes…just yet. As this world keeps evolving this issue is bound to keep coming up and eventually it will have to be dealt with. As of now I guess those individuals will continue to be what they are not and live their lives uncomfortably. How do you feel this situation should be dealt with? If you were in their shoes would you be open with your sexual preference? You may say it’s no one’s business but once you become a celebrity you become public property.