nfl

How To Explain THAT To The Kids?!

You may have heard that college football star Michael Sam became the first openly gay player in the NFL when he was drafted by the St Louis Rams over the weekend. You may have seen the live coverage on ESPN, as Mike got the call from his agent with the great news. It was an emotional moment for him and his boyfriend, surrounded by family and friends. And as they hugged and kissed each other, you could hear America’s reaction. Well, there were two reactions: either AWWWWWWWWW!!! or EWWWWWWWWW!!!

For most of us, it was a touching moment of Awwwwww! But, the sight of two men hugging and kissing, right there, in the middle of the NFL draft, on the television… well, some folks found that icky. So alarming is the sight of man-on-man affection – they might not even have noticed the interracial aspect! Who knows? The Ewwwwww! may have been doing double-duty disapproval in some quarters.

And now how – dadgummit! – just how are you s’posed to explain this to yer kids?! Glad you asked. The folks at HECKBENDER have got you covered.

 

And don’t forget:

Was he indicted by a grand jury and charged with multiple felony counts of torturing and killing dogs? Was he convicted of running a dog-fighting ring from his property in Virginia? Did he kill dogs by shooting them, electrocuting them, hanging them, beating them and drowning them? Did he spend two years in prison for these monstrous acts of cruelty?

No… that’s Michael Vick, who was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles when he was released from prison, and was just signed for one year by the New York Jets. Let’s not forget that scumbag Vick: CLICK HERE and HERE and HERE.

Most players in the NFL aren’t violent creeps or convicted psychopaths. Some are. If you are untroubled by them, but a little kiss has set your moral compass spinning… Dude – seriously?

The End (so far)

P.S. Thanks to Nathan Simpson at Queerlandia for hitting me in the numbers with this pass!

Tweet of the Day/Week/Month/Year

 

Especially convicted+jailed dog-killer Michael Vick

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2014/03/michael_vick_new_york_jets.php

The End (so far)

 

It Was A Très Gay Day In The USA

The National Football League is the biggest, baddest sports league in the galaxy America. Everything about the NFL is over-the-top. Teams of massive, muscle-bound multi-millionaires clash on billion-dollar battlefields, annihilating each other until only two armies are left standing. And then, Armageddon. The ultimate battle for WORLD* SUPREMACY. The Super Bowl.

* If you live in any of the other 195 countries (out of 196) where American football is not played, please forgive the slight exaggeration. You know how we are.

Baseball may be our national pastime, but football is the last redoubt of hyper-masculinity in USA! USA! If you’re not familiar with American sport (as the rest of the world – plus Mitt Romney – clips it), the ultimate primer on baseball vs football was given to us by the great George Carlin:

So, it was big news today when an NFL team drafted its first openly gay player. Michael Sam was a star player for the University of Missouri Tigers. He came out to his teammates at the start of his senior year season in 2013. They took the news in stride, the Mizzou Tigers went on to win the 2014 Cotton Bowl and Michael Sam was named a Defensive Player of the Year.

Michael Sam

Then in February, he came out to the rest of the world, taking a huge risk with his anticipated career in the NFL – which has never had, and certainly never drafted, an openly gay player. A handful of cowards anonymously expressed some negative comments, but the response from the NFL, its teams, players and fans was overwhelmingly positive and supportive. When the “god hates fags” pestilence descended on Missouri’s celebration of its Cotton Bowl win, a thousand students lined the roadway with signs of support and t-shirts that read “STAND WITH SAM” to shield Michael from the haters. The hashtag #standwithsam trended for @mikesamfootball.

Stand_With_Sam_WBC_counterprotestors

The St Louis Rams drafted Mike Sam today, and there’s a certain symmetry to that. It means he’ll have a built-in fan base in Missouri cheering him on. Congrats to Mike Sam, the Rams and the NFL. Everyone wins.

That news alone would make May 10th a banner day for the gay. But wait – there’s more. The state just south of Missouri (by pure coincidence) is Arkansas. In an America divided into conservative “red” and progressive “blue” states, Arkansas runs blood red in the former (-ish) Confederacy of the American South. It is the buckle of the “Bible belt”. Got the picture?

Well, imagine the surprise yesterday when an Arkansas judge ruled that his state’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the Constitution. BOOM! And he didn’t stay his ruling (in spite of the likely appeal), which meant that county clerks began issuing marriage licenses today to gay couples. First in line: Kristin Seaton and Jennifer Rambo received their marriage license and wasted no time at all. They married in an impromptu ceremony on the sidewalk outside the courthouse in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

arkansas.first couple marriage license

 

Congratulations to Kristen & Jennifer! And to Michael Sam – and his boyfriend (who probably also made history today as the first gay liplock on ESPN? Trey Wingo – can you confirm this stat?)

NFL drafts Sam

So, 10 May 2014. Big day all around. You know, this country often takes two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes we take one step forward and two steps back. But in the end, what we remember… what history records… what defines us… are the steps forward.

The End (so far)

P.S. Meanwhile, over in Europe…

Deep in the Heart of Texas!

I was going to update my earlier post (Sam vs Sam) to include this… but it really does deserve its very own space pedestal.

There is a sportscaster on WFAA-TV in Dallas. That’s in Texas, y’all. Goes by the name of Dale Hansen. And boy oh boy oh BOY! does Mr Dale Hansen have something to say about the NFL and football and Mike Sam.

To appreciate what you’re about to see, you don’t have to know anything about Dallas or Texas or WFAA or sports or Dale Hansen or Mike Sam or the NFL. You just have to have a pulse.

Here’s the link to the best two-minutes of video I’ve seen since Julia Sugarbaker defended her sister Suzanne to that bitch Marjorie Leigh Winnick! And that bit of television history is too delicious to mention in passing, so here it is:

I know, right?! The best of 80s tv! You haven’t lived until you’ve watched that clip for the hundredth time on a Sunday afternoon in the Midnight Sun bar in the Castro in San Francisco – but that’s another post.

Now you owe it to yourself to watch Dale Hansen, Unplugged. I hope you’ll share it. And to those around the world who may see this, I want you to know: Dale Hansen is an example of all the decent folks in America. The bigots and the assholes hog the spotlight – but they are in the minority. And shrinking.

DALE HANSEN :: UNPLUGGED (WFAA-TV, DALLAS)

Touchdown!

[037] Sam vs Sam

May you live in interesting times.

This is not the ancient Chinese curse that most of us heard it described as, including RFK who used it in a speech he gave in Cape Town in 1966:

“There is a Chinese curse which says ‘May he live in interesting times.’ Like it or not, we live in interesting times.”

I’m sure any public opinion poll conducted at any moment of human history would reveal that we always think of the times we live in as “interesting”. How could we not?

Of course, as curses go, condemning an enemy to live in interesting times doesn’t sound so terrible. The i-word must be a euphemism for challenging or even perilous. We do live in such times. asteroidInteresting? Always. Challenging? Frequently. Perilous? Probably moreso than we know. (An extinction-size asteroid could be whizzing past the moon as I tap out this post. That would suck… though it would (briefly) elevate the name of this blog – The End – from mere snark to exquisite prophecy.)

What do you find interesting about these times? My answer is probably different from yours, or Chris Christie’s or that of anyone named Kardashian. Probably.

mizzou.sam

Photo STLToday.com

There’s a story playing out in the national news this week that strikes me as one of the most interesting signs of our times. Three days ago, one of the best college football players in the country, on his way to the NFL draft, revealed that he is gay. He had come out to his team, the Missouri Tigers, before the start of this last season, with total support from his coaches and teammates. And they had a great, winning season.

“I am an openly proud gay man,” said Michael Sam, two weeks before the NFL scouts meeting. Why? For years, NFL scouts have been asking potential recruits questions like “Do you have a girlfriend?” or “Are you married?” or “Do you like girls?” Mike Sam just continued his habit of being honest and comfortable in his own skin. And in the process, he sets himself up to become the first openly gay player in the National Football League.

You would think the world of sports got hit by that rogue asteroid. But the reaction – while tumultuous – has been overwhelmingly positive. Starting with the NFL, which put out this statement:

“We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage. Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.”

The chorus of support continued, including the Tweeter-in-Chief.

Obama to Sam tweet

Of course, not everyone was full of cheer at Mike Sam’s coming out party. Sports Illustrated took a particularly cowardly route, giving “NFL executives” an anonymous platform for their negative comments. None worth repeating here.

Here’s one that is worth repeating. Jonathan Vilma, a linebacker with the New Orleans Saints shared his fears with NFL screaming.smallNetwork: “Imagine if he’s the guy next to me, and you know, I get dressed, naked, taking a shower, the whole nine, and it just so happens he looks at me, how am I supposed to respond?”

Seriously? Yeah. But this kind of reaction is instructive, because it so painfully reveals that people fear what they don’t understand. Ignorance is the root of all bigotry, all racism, all sexism, all xenophobia and all anti-gay hatred. I don’t mean ignorance as an intellectual deficit, but as a lack of experience. As every gay person who has ever come out knows, attitudes change when people come to understand that they know someone who is gay. “Gay is OK!” is the message, but the messenger carries the truth of it.

Here’s the most interesting part of these interesting times this week. While Missouri football-playing Mike Sam’s coming out was trending on Twitter, a wrestler at Ohio’s Kent State also got busy tweeting his opinion:

sam wheeler slur

“I can’t even watch sportcenter today cause all there talking about is Marcus Smart or that fag from mizzou….”

The NFL welcomes Mike Sam with open arms. The President of the United States congratulates Mike Sam for “real sportsmanship”. And Sam Wheeler of the KSU Golden Flashes (I won’t even go there) wrestling squad is complaining about “that fag from mizzou”.

Kent State University wasted no time with this statement:

“We are aware of the insensitive tweets by one of our student athletes. On behalf of Kent State University, we consider these comments to be ignorant and not indicative of the beliefs held by our university community as a whole. This is an educational opportunity for all of our student-athletes.”

And then they put Mr Wheeler on indefinite suspension. Where this “student athlete” belongs. Given the grammar exhibited in his offensive tweet, young Sam W. should be hitting the books while he’s unable to hit the mats. And since the most outspoken homophobes are often of the self-hating variety, maybe a little soul searching is in order, too.

With the 50th anniversary of MLK’s I Have A Dream speech last summer, another quote that’s had a lot of play lately is the one about “the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice”. But it bends slowly. And as President Obama has remarked, “it doesn’t bend by itself”.

marriage-equalityIt has been ten years since Massachusetts recognized marriage equality. Marriage isn’t everything, but the recognition of these rights are tangential to everything. We have seen marriage equality progress, in fits and starts, over the past decade. Especially in the passion play of Prop 8 in California leading up to the Supreme Court ruling last summer neutering that and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. Marriage equality is the law in nearly 20 states, with rulings pending in many more; and all marriages are equal in the eyes of the federal government. The bigoted Don’t Ask Don’t Tell military policy now seems like ancient history. The Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) will pass as soon as we have ethical leadership in the House once more. And here we are, on the verge of an openly gay player in the NFL.

We do live in interesting times. And for those who don’t like it, here’s the curse I’ll put on you: May your times get ever more interesting.

*UPDATE: YOU’LL WANT TO SEE THIS!

That would make me happy.
Day 037 #100happydays