Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins defended his wearing a "Justice for Tamir Rice" shirt during warm-ups before Sunday's game against the Bengals.
"My wearing of the T-shirt wasn't a stance against every police officer or every police department," Hawkins said. "My wearing of the T-shirt was a stance against wrong individuals doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason to innocent people."
Hawkins made the statement the day after Cleveland police union president Jeff Follmer called Hawkins' shirt "pathetic" and said Hawkins should stick to playing football.
Bravo, Mr. Hawkins.
13-year NBA veteran Jason Collins announces his retirement in a typically classy essay. The day after he came out, he was on ESPN with Shaq and Sir Charles, and they were talking to each other and kidding each other like the longtime colleagues they were. I couldn't stop smiling. We could not possibly have gotten a finer representative to make the breakthrough move that he did. Nothing but kudos and respect for you, Mr. Collins. A lot of other people need to step up, including people in the front offices of professional sports franchises; but your courage and grace made a difference. Thank you.
Above are video highlights of game 7 of the World Series, in which Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner got his third win of the series and won MVP. Slugger Pablo Sandoval made the winning catch to defeat the Royals. There was edge-of-your-seat excitement to the final moment.
Yahoo! Sports reports.
Michael K. Lavers at the Blade reports on the unhappy news from Dallas. I have no reason to think this is anything but a football decision, as the Cowboys defense situation has changed since Michael Sam was signed. He is the picture of grace in his comments on Twitter:
I want to thank the Jones family and the entire Cowboys organization for this opportunity, as well as my friends, family, teammates, (1/3)— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) October 21, 2014
and fans for their support. While this is disappointing, I will take the lessons I learned here in Dallas and continue to fight for an (2/3)— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) October 21, 2014
opportunity to prove that I can play every Sunday. (3/3)— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) October 21, 2014
Derek Jeter wins the game with a walk-off single in his final at-bat in Yankee Stadium. As he hugged his teammates, several past greats waited to greet him: Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez and former manager Joe Torre. Below, Derek walks off the field for the last time. (Meanwhile, the New York Giants beat the Washington Football team.)
NFL Player Devon Still gives his daughter a pep talk before her cancer surgery. Watching this did my heart a lot of good. (Follow link for video.)
Update: "After a 5hr 50min surgery the surgeon was able to remove ALL of her tumor and all of her lymph nodes and her right adrenal gland where it all started from."
From September 16, the Washington Nationals clinching the 2014 NL East division title. Go Nats!
Gatorade and Derek Jeter make a classic.
My column this week looks at indecency. Here is an excerpt:
It is amazing what indecent things some people say and do in the name of decency.
If your Christian parents throw you out of the house for being gay, and they cite Scripture, it is probably St. Paul, specifically 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, "Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
Regarding the reference to homosexuality, Bible Gateway explains, "The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts." But let's not quibble over translations, nor scour the Bible Concordance for the precise connection between God's kingdom and kicking out children. The point is that some people really believe this crap, and it's causing harm, and it's time we stopped being shy about it.
After organizers of New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade decided to allow an NBC-affiliated LGBT group to march, the Catholic League's Bill Donohue envisioned gay marchers masturbating in the street. Father Charles Pope, blogging for the Archdiocese of Washington, called the parade an "anal sex" celebration. These gentlemen are quieter about the papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic fleeing to Rome to avoid justice for abusing shoeshine boys.
As a kid growing up in Texas I always loved the Dallas Cowboys, so to join this incredible organization is really a dream come true. (1/3)— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) September 3, 2014
I want to thank the Jones family, the entire Cowboys organization, and the city of Dallas for giving me this opportunity. (2/3)— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) September 3, 2014
I look forward to putting my helmet and pads on every day to work my hardest to help bring a sixth Super Bowl Championship to Dallas!! (3/3)— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) September 3, 2014
Sean Gregory at Time reports.
Below, AP reports.
If Rams can discriminate against a homosexual because his behavior doesn't measure up, so can bakers and photographers.— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) August 31, 2014
AFA's Bryan Fischer rather desperately misrepresents the Rams' football-based decision to cut Michael Sam in order to make an unrelated point. Meanwhile, Breitbart in its report completely ignores Sam's strong performance in pre-season games, going back instead several months to before he was drafted.
Lucas Grindley reports at Advocate.com on Sam's situation. As Cyd Zeigler at Outsports says, the Rams' decision was based on the fact that it already has a strong defensive line. The fact that Sam was overlooked by every other NFL team, including teams like the Bengals and Patriots that needed pass rushers like him, suggest that something other than his merits was at play. Shame on the NFL.
Outsports reports. Any other NFL team can pick him up in the next 24 hours. Very disappointing, but it's not over yet. Sam tweeted:
I want to thank the entire Rams organization and the city of St. Louis for giving me this tremendous opportunity and allowing me to (1/2)— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 30, 2014
show I can play at this level. I look forward to continuing to build on the progress I made here toward a long and successful career (2/2)— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 30, 2014
The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I've always known. The journey continues.— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 30, 2014
@MichaelSamNFL Your skills, toughness, spirit, and poise are an inspiration to millions. Thank you for stepping up. Still rooting for you.— Richard Rosendall (@RickRosendall) August 30, 2014
Samantha Bee normally annoys me, but this is funny. Michael Sam outclasses the people who persist in trying to marginalize him with their locker room fantasies. Rooting for you, Mike.
Outsports reports that Rams defensive end Michael Sam survived the first round of roster cuts on Tuesday. He will get a chance to make a further case for himself in the fourth pre-season game on August 28. This week we've been watching Sam's sack against Johnny Manziel from last Saturday. Below is his sack that clinched the win for Mizzou eight months ago in the Cotton Bowl.
Michael Sam enhanced his chances of making the Rams roster with two sacks against Johnny Manziel. This guy plays his heart out, and he has a feel for the theater of it.
Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch reports:
Religious Right activists often attempt to defend anti-gay remarks by insisting that the remarks are merely expressions of religious faith. And that is exactly how they are handling the controversy over former NFL coach Tony Dungy’s comment that he wouldn’t draft Michael Sam because he wouldn’t want “to deal with” attention over his sexual orientation.
Take, for example, WorldNetDaily columnist Carl Jackson, who today not only suggests that Dungy should be immune from criticism because he is a Christian, but insists that anyone who dared to disagree with his remarks has actually “persecuted” and “crucified” him “because he had the courage to say what everyone else thought about the rookie pick.”
And Miranda Blue, also at RWW, reports that AFA President Tim Wildmon used a fundraising letter to get all steamy over the beefcake in NFL locker rooms:
By the way, having been a sports reporter for a few years I've been in many football locker rooms where the players walk around naked or half-naked, changing clothes and going in and out of the showers. Putting a man like Sam, who says he is sexually attracted to men, in with all that beefcake seems unfair to the straight players and a distraction to Sam.
Speaking of showers, Tim, you sound like you could use a cold one. We completely understand.
The ESPY Awards (short for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards) were handed out last night, and Michael Sam of the St. Louis Rams won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. He received the award from Duane "The Rock" Johnson, the wrestler and actor known for "The Scorpion King" and other movies. Below, for no good reason, is a scene from the 2008 Get Smart movie featuring Johnson.
Out magazine's cover story on openly gay NFL player Michael Sam includes this patriotic shot that will have lots of people saluting.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman joins with Michelle Obama and a few of his teammates to make a video as part of her Let's Move! campaign to promote healthy cooking, and spoofs himself in the process.
The Washington Redskins continue to fight back regarding their nickname, with general manager Bruce Allen sending a letter to Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid explaining why the name is not about to change in response to a letter Reid and 49 other senators sent to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell earlier this week urging him to force a change of the nickname.
Those who insist that the name of the Washington football team is not a slur but a gesture of respect are like guys who yell at a passing woman, "Great knockers!" and think it's a compliment. Only from a perspective of blind privilege could that make sense.
On the occasion of Black Pride weekend in DC, there are many heroes and sheroes to celebrate. Here is one, Derrick Gordon of UMass, who carried a lot of people with him when he stepped out.
My latest column in Metro Weekly looks at NFL draftee Michael Sam and The Kiss that made a thousand whackjobs moist. An excerpt:
Among the predictable reactions to The Kiss between Michael Sam and boyfriend Vito Cammisano, which was shown by ESPN during the closing minutes of the NFL draft on May 10, was the complaint about “gays shoving their sexuality down our throats.”
As long as we’re on the subject, I am tired of having my face smeared with the unresolved personal issues of people who use rape imagery to decry gay visibility. I might add that the veiled eroticism of smashing cake in his lover’s face hardly competes with that of jocks spraying champagne on one another.
Most people see through the homophobes’ feigned Victorian delicacy. Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen mocked, “[W]hen Sam was seen celebrating with his family and boyfriend, the world apparently shook, we almost collided with the sun, and yet somehow we have survived another day.” Hansen dismissed locker room fears by griping that his gay coworkers never hit on him.
Click on the link for the whole thing.
RWW reports on the latest in the right wing's Michael Sam Derangement Syndrome.
In case you missed it: Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen, who defended Michael Sam when he came out to the nation in February, offered this great editorial earlier this week after Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams.
The disgraced Clippers owner makes it worse for himself. Magic Johnson responds with class to his insults. Our friend Mark Thompson talks about it with Ari Melber in this clip from MSNBC.
There are certain public events that become indelible in our memory. One such is the moment when Pee Wee Reese stopped a baseball game during a road trip, walked over to his Dodgers teammate Jackie Robinson, and put his arm around his shoulder in silent rebuke to the racist fans who were screaming epithets at the brave man who broke the color line in baseball.
The moment captured in the above screen shot from ESPN, from 7 pm EDT on Saturday, May 10, 2014, is such a moment for me. As the headline writer at HuffPost (see below) perceived, it was a defining cultural moment. Collective expectations will change, including for sexual minority children and youth who will see themselves validated and affirmed by this natural expression of celebration and release.
Of course we will move on from this moment; but it will always remain as a milestone of our journey toward freedom and equality. Maybe it is easy to take for granted now, at least for those of us in liberal urban enclaves or college towns; but, as Sidney Poitier said as he accepted the Best Actor Oscar for Lilies of the Field from Anne Bancroft, "It is a long journey to this moment."
In our lives, the moment flies past us and is gone. In our memories, it is a bright flash that illuminates all around it, and sustains us in moments of setback and frustration and despair. Do not be intimidated or embarrassed or ashamed by the belittling and dismissive comments of those who find it necessary to treat this moment as nothing, who suggest that we are silly drama queens for making a big deal of it. It damn well is a big thing. Is it everything? Of course not. That moment between Reese and Robinson, or the one between Bancroft and Poitier, was a milestone, not the end of the journey. We need our milestones.
More pics of Sam and his boyfriend here.
Some of the same people who have fought us tooth and nail every step of the way to prevent this moment (and have not stopped) are now sneering, "What's the big deal?" as if we are pathetic, behind-the-curve fogies for even pausing to celebrate. Well, the 24-year-old defensive end who wept in his boyfriend's arms on TV as he got the call from the Rams -- that guy IS the curve. Countless people spent decades of our lives clearing a path to make moments like this possible. So we're celebrating. At the same time, those decades of struggle--and the need for continued vigilance--take their toll, and I want to smack the shit out of the sneering, dismissive naysayers.
Click here for a video of Michael Sam celebrating by spreading cake on his boyfriend's face and then kissing him. To the patronizing people who say what's the big deal: yes, this is the most ordinary thing in the world. What is new is the ability of gay people to do it without hiding. If that is nothing, why did so many of us have to spend so much of our lives fighting for it? I say to the naysayers: to hell with you.
Joy and history have never been more closely linked than in this moment, when Michael Sam got the call from the St. Louis Rams that he is in the NFL.
The video of the announcement is here.
Michael Sam today became the first openly gay player in NFL history as he was picked by the St. Louis Rams in Round 7 of the NFL 2014 draft. NYT reports.
I spent seven hours Saturday hanging on every pick. It took until nearly the end, but it finally happened. This is a happy day. Here's to the many young people whose prospects will brighten at this news, whose hearts will be lifted by hope, and whose confidence will grow. Thank you, Rams, and bravo to Michael Sam.
The NFL draft is underway. As we watch and wait for Michael Sam to make history, here is his new commercial for Visa, with whom he has signed an endorsement deal.
As nfldraftscout.com reported on May 7:
Missouri defensive end Michael Sam was named the Arthur Ashe Courage Award winner. The honor goes to athletes or contributors who transcend sports. Sam will receive the award at the the 2014 ESPY Awards on July 16. Sam was SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year. He announced in February that he is gay, making him set to become the first openly gay player in the NFL. ESPN said in a statement it is honoring Sam for "his courage and honesty that resonates beyond sports." "I'm very honored to be presented with the Arthur Ashe award," he said. "It is about courage. You know I don't think there is anything courageous I did. I look forward to when we can live life in a world when gays don't have to come out in public."
Meanwhile, Kyle Mantyla at Right Wing Watch reports that a DC lobbyist named Jack Burkman threatens a "relentless" boycott effort against any team that signs Sam. Get ready to order your Michael Sam gear from whatever team drafts him.
NBA legend Magic Johnson reacts to racist statements by longtime L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Sterling's offensive remarks can be heard here. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will hold a press conference on his investigation into the matter this afternoon.
Magic, of course, is right. Sterling must go.
Speaking of Magic and respect for others, below is a clip from last year of Magic talking about his son E.J. coming out.
British swimmer Adam Walker was joined by a pod of dolphins on April 22 as he crossed New Zealand's Cook Strait as part of a fundraising competition to help the conservation of whales and dolphins.
Walker's YouTube page states:
Swim coach Adam Walker is swimming the hardest 7 oceans in the world the Oceans Seven in aid of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation charity (http://www.justgiving.com/swim4whales). Adam is set to be the first British person to complete the Oceans Seven and only four people in the world have completed it so far! With the English Channel, Gibraltar Straits, Catalina Channel, Molokai Strait, Tsugaru Strait and now the Cook Strait under his belt, Adams final swim of the seven takes place this August in the Irish Sea. Check Adams website for more details http://www.oceanwalkeruk.com
Walker spotted a great white shark swimming beneath him at about the time the dolphins surrounded him. So they may have been protecting him. They stayed with him for over an hour, until after the shark left. What a beautiful encounter with another intelligence, not on a distant world orbiting Proxima Centauri, but in Cook Strait. How we can allow such wonderful creatures to be enslaved in water parks I do not understand.
(Hat tip: Rob Neighbour)