Anti-gay bigotry, the NBA and John Amaechi's coming out
This article is about John Amaechi becoming the first male professional basketball player to come out as being homosexual. He is the 6th in the 4 major pro sports to do so. This also coincided witht he release of his book "Man in The Middle". He talked about keeping his secret, and having to hear plenty of gay bashing while in the league. Most of the reaction to his revelation was positive, although it was said that he violated the trust of the locker room by keeping his orientation covert. Tim Hardaway was his biggest critic, he decried homosexuality and said it had no place in the world or country. Although reaction was posiitive to Amaechi people though this was career suicide for Hardaway and would always tarnish his image in the eyes of most observers. Hardaway also was banished from the NBA All Star Weekend after his comments.
This article brings up the point that sports like football and basketball are seen as being masculine and that homosexuality among males is seen as being less masculine. Playing in the NBA is something that many can not imagine a gay person doing, or imagine players in the NBA being gay. Although there was some negative reaction I found it surprising how positively this was received by most of the media and general public. It is intruiging that Hardaway who is speaking positively about the dominant culture of heterosexuality is the one that is viewed negatively. Still though there is definitely a problem if you look at this case in juxtaposition with Sheryl Swoopes who came out as an active player in the WNBA, and received nothing negative, and just went on as if nothing happened. This is because the lesbian players are perceived as maybe more masculine in the competitive realm of athletics, as well as many female players being perceived as homosexual even if it is not the case often. Although the reaction was positive after the fact mostly, I thnk it might be a lot different if Amaechi was still in the league, and people would still have be around him in the locker room and compete against him on the court. Also I think the possibility is very high that he would be blackballed from the league since he was just a marginal player and no one would have made any fuss if he never made the NBA in the first place.