Random Thoughts

John Amaechi

So this is a sports related story, but it’s not really about sports.  For those of you who don’t know, John Amaechi was a former NBA player for the Utah Jazz (not to be confused with the late Don Ameche, actor in the hilarious movie Folks! starring Tom Selleck), and he wrote a book that’s coming out soon, where he comes out that he’s gay, and always has been.

I’ve often thought that the last big barrier in sports is a big name athlete coming out as gay (this is not including the possiblity that there will be some major professional co-ed sport some day, or that the WNBA will ever be popular), however, just in the same way that Jackie Robinson received all kinds of hate for being the first black athlete in a professional American sport, Amaechi is receiving his share of hate as well.  Most notably was Tim Hardaway, former Miami Heat (boooo, hisss) player, who actually said “I hate gay people.”  He literally said those exact words.  Unbelievable.  If you substitute the word “gay” with word “black” in his entire interview, think of how different that would seem.

So this is kind of a big deal. If there’s any world that has an amazing amount of ignorance when it comes to homosexuality (and clearly a lot of hate as well), it’s the sports world (except maybe construction or Mormon lawnmowing, for those of you who would get that joke), so this is huge.  This is going to be talked about for a long time, however, if I was a homosexual professional athlete, I would still be terrified to come out while I was still a player.  But who knows, this might be the start of something huge.  So I don’t really have any points to bring up, but I just wanted to make sure all you non-sports folk had heard about this.

4 thoughts on “John Amaechi”

  1. Thanks for the “heads up”. At the risk of oversimplification, most jocks have always been homophobic, I think because so much of what they actually do during play would look like homosexual behavior if done elsewhere (slaps/pats on the butt, holding hands on the offensive line, mashing body parts for celebration, showering together, etc. etc. I suspect those who yell the loudest are dealing with their own internal issues. Cudos to John for his bravery; I hope it’s not too painful for him in the long run. I surely will benefit others who follow.

  2. I love one of the comments from readers about the article:

    “I think that it’s great that Amaechi came out as homosexual and that Hardaway came out as intolerant.”

    While I understand the back-tracking of his PR people, like Amaechi, I appreciate his honesty in a backwards sort of way. I hope that the NBA can look at his attitude and say, “We need to make sure our players understand that, while they may feel a certain way about a minority group, we don’t allow that kind of prejudice.” Getting it right out in the open feeds the conversation, and hopefully makes a call for change also out in the open.

    It’s nice to imagine a situation where, when people started jobs (sports or otherwise), they’d hear, “Being an equal opportunity employer means we don’t tolerate prejudice against folks of a race, religion, or sexual preference. If you don’t like it, you may want to work somewhere else.” It requires people to either come out as intolerant, or realize that they’re the ones who have to be under the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. 😉

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