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« The North American Union? | Main | Women's Mags, Men's Mags »

February 09, 2007

Gays and Sports

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Not to be missed: a still-fizzing conversation at Marginal Revolution about gays and sports. It was sparked off by the case of John Amaechi, a former NBA player who recently came out of the closet. Lots of interesting observations and theorizing from lots of different points of view.

Half the blogshow, as far as I'm concerned, is the fun of watching people negotiate the minefields a conversation like this one is inevitably strewn with. They're trying, if in often-fumbling ways, to talk about a touchy but fascinating subject in a freewheeling yet respectful way. I found the whole yakfest rather heartening. Five years ago, would anyone have even dared to try to have such a discussion -- and in public? Perhaps our sense of what's permitted in "the public conversation" is finally growing a little more open. Let's hope.

Steve Sailer elaborates on some of his own contributions here. John Amaechi sounds like an interesting guy.



posted by Michael at February 9, 2007


I wonder who the other five are in the four major sports (gays who have come out). I heard rumors about Fran Takenton. Oh, and Roman Gabriel from the LA Rams. But they were both seventies stars, and they are rumors, I think---did they actually "come out"? Anybody officially "out" who is playing now? My guess is they could answer the percentage of closet gays in major sports, and why they remain closeted. I'm sure its part team discomfort, coach discomfort, and part fan and sponsor discomfort. FWIW--Peyton Manning's best friend in college and since is country star Kenny Chesney--who I believe is known to be gay. Rock Hudson was supposed to be a huge and genuine football fan.

Posted by: annette on February 9, 2007 1:55 PM

Five years ago, would anyone have even dared to try to have such a discussion -- and in public?

Yes, but how many of us are doing it anonymously or pseudonymously?

I'm interested in the current players who are still in the closet. Amaechi mentioned that he knew a few and Charles Barkley said he played with a few. I have my guesses, but I'm not going to try to out anybody who doesn't want to be outed. I hope people start doing it during (and before!) their careers soon, though. It'll help a lot of non-athlete gays.

Posted by: JewishAtheist on February 9, 2007 2:39 PM

Keep 'em in the closet.

Posted by: Bob Grier on February 9, 2007 4:09 PM

Annette, I know that their was a football player who played on the Giants. I can't remember his name now (he was not a great player), but I remember him being on Howard Stern.

Posted by: Ian Lewis on February 9, 2007 5:00 PM

The liberal obsession with breaking taboos has become a leaden, monstrous bore.

Especially since breaking taboos no longer means facing social isolation. No, it's the way to land on TV reality shows and get a book deal. This Amaechi fellow might even be lying so that he can sell a book and public appearances. Wouldn't surprise me.

What a yawner!

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on February 10, 2007 10:31 AM

I read the Sailer bit after I commented. So, I've got to come back.

Michael, why do you find it interesting that a man who hated basketball used the game to make money? Why is it interesting that a man who hated traditional male values used the NBA for a few years to make money?

I gather that you are a liberal. I was once one myself, but I've lost touch completely with the motivations behind liberalism. Why do liberals love people who enter institutions with the deliberate intention of subverting and destroying them? What's so clever about this? Can't they just stay away and leave the rest of us alone?

This character should have stayed the hell out of the NBA. I don't find it admirable that he used the NBA like an office worker who's simply tolerating his job.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on February 10, 2007 10:39 AM

Brief (and oversimplified) comments on this general subject in my blogpost from the other day.

Posted by: KaneCitizen on February 10, 2007 12:41 PM

There's a natural human tendency among some people to oppose authority. Goes back a long way: ever notice how a lot of the heresies in the Middle Ages involved the Church, the nobility, or both being corrupt? (Which, of course, they were.)

Posted by: SFG on February 12, 2007 2:38 PM

Marginal Revolution is rightly known as a place where truth-seeking and intellectual curiosity are valued above agendas, so I did not find the discussion there about gays in sports to be heartening at all. Sailer is his own worst enemy, overstating his views, not responding to reasonable objections, attacking straw-man arguments of the kind not espoused by the typical MR reader. I look forward to a debate with someone who shares Sailer's views but not his style -- the kind of person you could have lunch with, dig into issues and ideas, and leave with something new to think about, not a case of indigestion.

Posted by: Alec Scudder on February 14, 2007 1:10 AM

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