While the Winter Olympics is in full swing in Russia, the sports world is being distracted by two issues that are literally “outside the lines”:
- An NFL prospect, Michael Sam, comes out of the closet, and everyone wonders if the NFL is ready to accept a homosexual.
- An NBA prospect, Marcus Smart, shoves a middle-aged fan who heckled him, and everyone wonders why the fan didn’t act his age.
Initially, the Sam issue generated little heat because most people felt that homosexuality, like same-sex marriage, had become mainstream in America. The Smart matter, however, created some discussion because, even with irresistible provocation, there was something troubling about 6’4”, 220-pound athlete going into the stands to shove a fat, middle-aged air controller who disparaged him.
But the Sam issue had more legs because of two developments. First, there was an MMQB article reporting that several anonymous NFL GMs believed Sam’s draft status would be hurt significantly by his disclosure. Although this was no surprise, the politically correct took the opportunity to act outraged. For example, the NFL players’ association director DeMaurice Smith declared:
- “So my first reaction has nothing to do with Michael Sam. My reaction is to call those GMs for what they are — they’re gutless. “If a young man has the courage to stand up and put his name and his face to talk about what he thinks is important, I would expect that a grown man can do exactly the same thing. But apparently they can’t.”
Huh? Why would any GM make public comments about the stock of any draft prospect? His job is not to create distractions for his franchise by becoming a lightning rod for those with social agendas.
The second development was an article in the NY Times in which Sam’s dad expressed his misgivings:
- Last Tuesday, Michael Sam Sr. was at a Denny’s near his home outside Dallas to celebrate his birthday when his son sent him a text message. Dad, I’m gay, he wrote. The party stopped cold. “I couldn’t eat no more, so I went to Applebee’s to have drinks,” Sam Sr. said. “I don’t want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment. “I’m old school,” he added. “I’m a man-and-a-woman type of guy.” As evidence, he pointed out that he had taken an older son to Mexico to lose his virginity.
Both of these developments seem to have obscured a related issue that surfaced last week, when NO Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma expressed his discomfort in showering with a homosexual:
- “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?”
I’ve seen very little discussion of the Vilma issue, with the politically correct seeming to assume that this thinking is tantamount to homophobia. I disagree. In San Antonio, we had a similar problem when an Equality Ordinance created the possibility of transgender men using the women’s bathroom. The proponents of the ordinance attempted to pooh-pooh this because any meaningful discussion was bound to increase the “no” vote.
But the question remains – i.e., how to treat transgender men? Do they go in the men’s bathroom/shower or the women’s? And is the situation analogous for homosexuals? Obviously, America is not ready for men and women to be assigned to the same bathrooms and showers, and until that happens, I suspect the Jonathan Vilmas of the world will need to tolerate the sideways glances from the Michael Sams of the world.