Good Sportsmanship

Recently, former NBA player John Amaechi announced that he was gay. As he is the first former or current NBA player to come out, this got some press. And it got some people talking about whether homosexuality is accepted in sports. And then former player Tim Hardaway made his views on the subject clear.

"First of all, I wouldn't want him on my team," the former Miami Heat star said. "And second of all, if he was on my team, I would, you know, really distance myself from him because, uh, I don't think that is right. I don't think he should be in the locker room while we are in the locker room."

When show host Dan Le Batard told Hardaway those comments were "flatly homophobic" and "bigotry," the player continued.

"You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people," he said. "I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."

Gay and lesbian groups quickly denounced Hardaway, NBA commish David Stern banned him from any All-Star Game appearances, and most people agreed that he was a moron.

I will fervently defend Hardaway's right to say what he did. And he has every right to hate gay people. But let's make one thing clear: Hardaway is an idiot. He probably won't be winning any humanitarian awards. Should that surprise anyone? And should it matter?

It's hard to go a week without hearing about a brawl, or some sports figure getting arrested for gun charges, or a DUI, or domestic violence, or rape, or lewd conduct, or murder, or someone getting caught using steroids, or fuel additives, or steroids, or someone busted for gambling. And this is not just in professional sports. Collegiate athletes have had their own problems too. I'd list some recent highlights from the UW football team, but this post is already getting long. All of these things have become an accepted part of sports.

So you'll have to excuse me when I say that some athlete coming out or another athlete hating gays are not serious issues.

Athletes in general are stupid, immature, and irresponsible, and I don't care. Let them say whatever come out of their thick heads; it doesn't always need to be published in an article. I don't watch a boxing match expecting to get a civics lesson. I don't expect the NFL to determine our country's foreign policy. I don't expect professional basketball players to raise our children. We value athletes because they are strong, or run fast, or are coordinated. That's all we should expect from them. Athletes should not be role models.


Blogger Dorshorst said...

Again, can we stop all the homophobia talk?
A phobia implies an irrational fear of something. Simply being uncomfortable with something or thinking it is immoral does not mean you have a phobia.

15/2/07 23:24  
Blogger Erik Opsal said...

I wrote a column last year about how athletes are not role models. Anytime you can talk about Charles Barkley in an opinion column, it's a good thing.

16/2/07 13:36  
Blogger Dorshorst said...

Charles is always a good guy to quote.

17/2/07 01:14  
Blogger Dorshorst said...

Sorry, I noticed a big mistake. I was talking about sports and athletes and somehow Nascar got mentioned. My bad.

17/2/07 22:28  
Blogger reynaldo10 said...

You failed to site my paper that I wrote freshman year in McLeer's class. I'm suing you.

23/2/07 19:57  

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