Rather recent in the sports world was the coming out of a few gay athletes playing at the highest level of sports, the NBA and NFL. Jason Collins, began playing in the NBA as the first openly gay NBA player and Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams making him the first openly gay NFL player. Many people have their opinions on this but one thing is for certain it has sparked some controversy.
“I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet,” one personnel assistant with the NFL told SI.com. “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.” They are not the only one who feels like this. I believe this is caused by many different factors. Black men are also commonly viewed as brutes whose major function is to grunt and groan on the athletic field. They appear to be monuments of power, seemingly bred for brutality.
In America, professional sports can be brutal especially in certain sports. Many people do not think that a man can be both gay, and a “brute”. They believe that being gay will feminize the brute and thus ruin their desire to see black men play a game reserved for the manliest of men. There is a mistake in this logic because there have been gay athletes before who were able to perform successfully. The difference here is these men are not hidden; they chose to be authentic about who they are.
Former sportscaster Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder once said, “The black is a better athlete to begin with because he’s been bred to be that way, because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs, and he’s bred to be the better athlete because this goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trade … the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have a big black kid.”
What has to happen in order to finally influence the NBA and NFL to change their views of openly gay athletes? It starts with recognizing that the locker room is a place of work. Many view the locker room where gay men should not be allowed. They are often teased and it is rarely a good situation. Some pro athletes say they would not want to shower in the locker room if they knew there was another man looking at them in a sexual way.
The main question here for everyone in these NFL and NBA organizations is how talented are these gay athletes. If they are good enough to help the team than they should be on the team regardless of race or sexual orientation.