Amid the continued violence, the need for role models is all the more clear. This guy is golden.
Amid the continued violence, the need for role models is all the more clear. This guy is golden.
Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper runs face-first into a wall. The Nats won the game, but let's hope he recovers and doesn't forget the reason for the warning track again.
A lovely video from Freedom to Marry on Audrey Smaltz and her wife, former Olympian Gail Marquis.
Allen Barra writes in The Atlantic:
This week's coming out by NBA player Jason Collins is momentous, but the Jackie Robinson of gay rights was Glenn Burke, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A's from 1976 to 1979. He tried to change sports culture three decades ago—but back then, unlike now, sports culture wasn't ready for a change.
Burke made no secret of his sexual orientation to the Dodgers front office, his teammates, or friends in either league. He also talked freely with sportswriters, though all of them ended up shaking their heads and telling him they couldn't write that in their papers. Burke was so open about his sexuality that the Dodgers tried to talk him into participating in a sham marriage. (He wrote in his autobiography that the team offered him $75,000 to go along with the ruse.) He refused. In a bit of irony that would seem farcical if it wasn't so tragic, one of the Dodgers who tried to talk Burke into getting "married," was his manager, Tommy Lasorda, whose son Tom Jr. died from AIDS complications in 1991. To this day, Lasorda Sr. refuses to acknowledge his son's homosexuality.
Oprah Winfrey's interview with Jason Collins and his family will air on Sunday, May 5 at 7:30/6:30c on OWN. In this clip, Oprah asks Jason's twin brother Jarron about the day last summer when Jason told him he was gay. The easy humor of these brothers just shines.
Jason Collins is interviewed by Bill Simmons at grantland.com. Jason's voice is smooth. It's like a cat purring; it comes right over and snuggles up next to you. With it he conveys maturity, seasoning, thoughtfulness, self-assuredness, and a winning sense of humor. I bet a lot of listeners forget to put up their defenses and are more receptive than they might be otherwise. When his NBA career is over (which I hope is not yet), he can make a fortune with that voice and the character that it helps convey. This guy is solid. This extended interview makes that evident.
Atlanta Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel objects to Jason Collins coming out as a gay man:
Straight people are not announcing they’re straight, so why does everybody have to announce their sexuality or whatever? You know, what they prefer…So that’s just how I see it. That’s my opinion on things. All respect you know, I have nothing but respect for the people whoever decisions they make and whatever, but you know, you don’t have to show it and flaunt it like that. You know what I’m saying, we have kids out here, too.
Yeah, it's been a veritable flood. "Everybody" is doing it. Somehow, anything but complete invisibility constitutes shoving "it" in people's faces. Of course, Jason Collins did not discuss sex. That is Mr. Samuel's hangup. Our opponents persistently try to reduce us and our love lives to sex in a way they would never dream of doing to themselves. It is not a mere disagreement, it is a lie. And Jason Collins has made a large contribution toward discrediting it.
As this interview progresses, watching these veteran players kid each other is pretty damn wonderful. There is real respect here.
Saeed Jones writes on BuzzFeed that "black gay kids need heroes too."
The Daily Beast has retracted the erroneous Wednesday piece by Howard Kurtz on NBA player Jason Collins, who came out on Monday in Sports Illustrated. As I was typing that sentence, I learned that they have also parted ways with Kurtz.
Follow the links to get the rundown on Kurtz's amazingly clueless story. But I loved yesterday's Eat the Press telestrator (see pic below) showing how utterly wrong Kurtz was in his initial claim that Collins had not mentioned having once been engaged to a woman, a claim that showed Kurtz hadn't even read Collins's coming out story. But it was even worse than that. Kurtz showed a complete lack of understanding of the self-denial and pressure to conform endured by closeted gay people, even though Collins wrote about it quite lucidly.
As I said on Facebook earlier today, before Daily Beast dropped Kurtz: Mistah Kurtz, he done. (Apologies to fans of Joseph Conrad.)
I am quoted in this Time Magazine article by Sean Gregory on why sports is important in combatting homophobia.
ABC News reports:
Washington Wizards center Jason Collins’ jerseys got a boost in online sales after he became the first openly gay athlete on a major U.S. team sport.
Team spokesman Scott Hall told ABC News that 100 percent of custom jerseys ordered from the team’s online store bore Collins’ name and number, 98, on the back, after Collins revealed his homosexuality in an article published on Sports Illustrated’s website on Monday.
Collins began the first-person article, “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”
While Hall could not reveal how many custom Collins jerseys were sold, he said that the team’s general merchandise sales and online traffic spiked following Collins’ announcement.
In a statement, the Wizards said they were proud of Collins and “his decision to live his life proudly and openly.”
Get your Collins 98 Wizards jersey here. Collins said that he chose the number 98 for his Celtics and Wizards jerseys this past season as a tribute to Matthew Shepard, a young man who was tortured and murdered in Wyoming in 1998 for being gay. If Collins has made a single wrong step, I haven't seen it. He is a pearl of great price, as Jesus would say.
The Jason Collins story is the third news item in this clip. Very funny.
In the midst of an amusing male-bonding insult ritual, Dave Letterman and Dr. Phil talk about the significance of Jason Collins coming out.
The President seldom returns to the podium to answer a called-out question. But he wanted to answer this one. He has plenty of company in being proud of Jason Collins.
L.Z. Granderson talks about Jason Collins on the PBS NewsHour.
My favorite NBA Hall-of-Famer talks about Jason Collins's coming out.
Maybe Barkley, Kobe Bryant, and other supportive players and former players should invite Collins to shower with them as a show of support. Message: "He's gay. Get over it!"
President Barack Obama called Jason Collins on Monday to express his gratitude after the NBA player publicly announced that he is gay, two sources familiar with the call told The Huffington Post.
A White House official confirmed the call, saying that the president wanted to "express his support" and tell Collins that "he was impressed by his courage."
Memo to Bryan Fischer: If Jason Collins were inclined to eyeball his teammates in the shower, he'd have been doing it his entire career. Apparently you'd prefer that he and other gay players do their eyeballing secretly. As to players' wives not wanting gay men to ogle their husbands: Really? With TV cameras routinely prowling locker rooms, you're worried about some live glimpses of beefcake? Unless you're also prepared to open girls-only gatherings for inspection by the prurient, I think it would be best to let the boys attend to their after-game activities themselves. They're big and tough; they can handle it.
Or is this really about Mr. Fischer's fearful fantasies about how he might totally melt under the gaze of this seven-foot-tall athlete in the naked vulnerability of a locker room?
Look at him. In the game, on the court, confident, smiling, gleaming in sweat. This is 12-year NBA veteran Jason Collins. He is no rookie needing to prove himself. While not one of the big stars, he has been a solid contributor on six teams (most recently our own Wizards), and been in multiple playoffs. He is ready for his moment. Below, in a post-game interview from December (when he was with the Celtics), his poise comes through.
Washington Wizards center Jason Collins breaks the historic news in the May 6, 2013, issue of Sports Illustrated:
I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay.
I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, "I'm different." If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand.
My journey of self-discovery and self-acknowledgement began in my hometown of Los Angeles and has taken me through two state high school championships, the NCAA Final Four and the Elite Eight, and nine playoffs in 12 NBA seasons.
I've played for six pro teams and have appeared in two NBA Finals. Ever heard of a parlor game called Three Degrees of Jason Collins? If you're in the league, and I haven't been your teammate, I surely have been one of your teammates' teammates. Or one of your teammates' teammates' teammates.
I was taking a break from reading Arnold Rampersad's biography of Jackie Robinson to check my Facebook feed. There in a dozen posts was the handsome, confident face of NBA center Jason Collins smiling out from the cover of Sports Illustrated, and tears ran down my face. We did it, we did it, we did it.
How many gay kids are looking at that SI cover and feeling an electric charge comparable to what so many kids felt in 1947 with Jackie? We're winning.
Then I think of the hatred and intolerance that have tried to monopolize public religion in this country and disfigured the Republican Party. I think of all the work we have ahead of us. But the haters are losing. The tide of history is against them. And Jason Collins and those who will soon follow have so many more people backing them up than Jackie and Rachel Robinson did. Oh happy day.
Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed writes on the inspiration Collins received from his old Stanford roommate who is now Rep. Joe Kennedy III.
Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, nicknamed "Big Papi," pleased the crowd at Fenway Park today, and television viewers, as he spoke for the team. Boston Globe reports that the Federal Communications Commission gave his f-bomb a pass:
“David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today’s Red Sox game,” the FCC tweeted this afternoon. “I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston.” The message was signed by “Julius,” presumably FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.
Footage of one of the explosions today at the Boston Marathon. I believe this is on Boylston Street.
In the initial chaos, there have been false reports and conflicting accounts. We know a few things: The Boston Marathon is a major international event that has a history of more than a century. Today is Patriot's Day in Massachusetts in addition to Tax Day. We don't yet know who set off the bombs or why. One report says that a wounded suspect is under observation in a Boston hospital. Another report says the police commissioner says no one is yet in custody. An explosion at the JFK library reportedly turned out to be from a boiler and not to be related. This confusion is to be expected.
President Obama is starting to speak as I type this. I am sure he is going to call for people to remain calm and let law enforcement personnel do their jobs. One conservative writer and Fox News contributor already tweeted an outrageous call for reprisals. We cannot allow our own communities to turn into irrational mobs, provoked by unscrupulous and hateful persons exploiting the fog of breaking news. The President just said we must not jump to conclusions. He is right.
If you are a praying person, now would be a good time to pray for the victims of the bombings, and for the first responders and caregivers.
NBA great Earvin "Magic" Johnson's 20-year-old son EJ showed no shyness recently on Sunset Strip, where he encountered cameras while walking hand-in-hand with his boyfriend. EJ's parents are entirely supportive.
Due for release next month, the story of the breaking of the color line in major league baseball. One of the great American stories.
Our friend Andrés Duque wrote last night on Facebook:
During his winning fight tonight Orlando Fenomeno Cruz wore a kilt with two Puerto Rican flags. On one side was the regular red, white and blue one; on the other the stripes were replaced by rainbow colors in honor of the LGBT community... That takes G.U.T.S. So fucking proud.
Yes, indeed. Congrats to Mr. Cruz.
Athlete Ally Brendon Ayanbadejo talks frankly with Ed Schultz about the pressure NFL recruits face to pose as straight beginning with their interviews with teams. Well, at least we're talking about it, which would not be happening without allies like Brendon.
Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, whose teammates dubbed him a "gay ambassador" (he is straight, for anyone who has just awakened from a long hibernation), posted this pic on Tuesday as he was continuing his LGBT rights advocacy. He wrote on Facebook:
Another day doing work. Just finished a meeting with Tonya Robinson, Obama's appointed official for LGBT rights in the White House. — at White House Executive Office Building.
He "liked" my comment, "All that righteousness and gorgeous to boot." Now for a beefcake shot from a Ravens locker room rally in January.
Seriously, this guy's dedication is awesome. He knows how to work it for the cause. You go, guy.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Contact: Rick Rosendall
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., is pleased to announce its 2013 Distinguished Service Award recipients. GLAA presents awards to local individuals and organizations that have served the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the national capital area. The awards will be presented at GLAA’s 42nd Anniversary Reception on Thursday, April 25 from 6:30 to 9:00 pm at the Washington Plaza Hotel at 10 Thomas Circle, NW. Tickets are $55 and can be purchased by contacting GLAA at email@example.com or (202) 667-5139; a range of donor levels is also available.
GLAA’s 2013 Distinguished Service Award recipients are:
Denver Nuggets star Kenneth Faried has become the first NBA player to join the group Athlete Ally, dedicated to making LGBT people more welcome in professional sports. HuffPost reports:
"Becoming an Athlete Ally gives me the opportunity to spread a message of inclusiveness throughout the NBA and our country," said Faried in a statement to The Huffington Post, referring to the non-profit group that advocates for gay rights in sports. "I have two moms and I love them both very much. I respect, honor and support them in every way. The bond I have with them has made me realize that I want all members of the LGBT community -- whether they are parents, players, coaches or fans -- to feel welcome in the NBA and in all of our communities."
Armistead Maupin, famous San Franciscan and chronicler of Tales of the City, penned a tribute to the Super Bowl rival city of Baltimore in honor of its victory. Since the Ravens were named after a poem, he wrote his tribute in verse.
Ravens linebacker and athlete ally Brendon Ayanbadejo, interviewed on CNN by openly gay anchor Don Lemon, hits another one out of the park. Okay, bad metaphor for an NFL player.
Brendon is superb--and it's not based merely on being well briefed or prepped for a media appearance. This is how he was brought up and how he lives his life. That's what is so powerful about him, his authenticity. He is not the least bit thrown or intimidated by the push-back. The very picture of manly grace.
Russell Simmons interviews Brendon Ayanbadejo on his gay-rights advocacy. I love the above quote, which refers to how Brendon handled the push-back he initially got from other athletes. If he wants to keep using his body to illustrate his points, that is fine by me.
Brendon Ayanbadejo, linebacker for the NFL-champion Baltimore Ravens, posted the above photo of himself and his now 22-month-old son Amadeus Prime on Facebook on January 31 with this note:
#tbt this summer with amadeus prime when we were at the starting line of our journey to the Super Bowl. After this Super Bowl journey we have one more major fight on our hands and that is repairing the tiny hole in my sons heart called an ASD. Although this particular ASD does not affect Amadeus as a child it will ultimate destroy his heart and lungs as a young adult thus needs to be repaired. Thank you for all the love and support. We are looking forward to a successful #superbowl followed by a successful surgery!!!
(According to hashtags.org, #tbt "refers to ‘Throwback Thursday,’ the weekly Twitter tradition where users post photos from a ‘while’ ago on their timelines." Good to know.)
ESPN reports that Ayanbadejo's six-year-old daughter Anaya only learned about her baby brother's heart condition last night as she held her daddy's hand while he gave a post-game interview. He and her mother, Natalee Uzcategui, were waiting until after the game to tell her, and Brendon just blurted it out to the reporter without thinking. These intrusions into a family's struggles are unavoidable amidst a media-saturated football championship, especially when Daddy is an outspoken voice for marriage equality and players for the other team spent the previous week making embarrassing anti-gay remarks. But reading the story and seeing this photo of Brendon with his adorable and happy son reminds us of the human dimension at the heart of our struggle. Best of luck to Amadeus Prime on his surgery, and to his whole family, especially his big sister.
Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has invited Brendon to appear on her show later this month to discuss his team's victory and his support for marriage equality (since he said he wanted to use the attention from a Super Bowl victory to help advance the cause). Ellen tweeted last night:
Ellen DeGeneres @TheEllenShow
Unbelievable. Congratulations to the Ravens and my friend @Brendon310. I'll see you soon!
Meanwhile, in a pre-game interview, President Obama answered "Yes" when asked if the Boy Scouts should end their policy of excluding gay boys.