In our society today, our professional athletes, as well as anyone in the public eye (including Lady Gaga), tend to forget themselves and use words that hurt people. I am sure that most people in the public eye have no intention to malign, nor hurt those that the words describe. However, they do hurt and much more than they can ever imagine.
Let’s start with the most recent comment from NC State’s forward C J Leslie. He tweeted just this past Tuesday “i’m no anti gay But I would rather not have a gay n the locker room. john Amaechi is to big to be gay”. Now, how can CJ say that that is not anti gay? How much more anti gay could that be? And as a basketball player, did he not learn from the situation that one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game just went thru (Kobe)? And how does being a big man have anything to do with someone’s sexual orientation. Yes, he apologized, but alas do we really believe him?
Next, we have Sean Avery, undoubtedly one of the greats for the New York Rangers. Sean, a heterosexual, has come out publicly supporting equal rights for the LGBT community. The Rangers left winger made headlines for participating in a public service commercial for an equal marriage rights campaign in New York State. Shortly thereafter, NHL player agent Todd Reynolds decided to respond on his agency’s twitter page, saying he was “Very sad to read Sean Avery’s misguided support of same-gender ‘marriage, ” and that, “Legal or not, it will always be wrong.” Yes, I believe that Mr. Reynolds has the right to his opinion, as we know this is America. However, he is misguided to believe that his public posting wouldn’t cause himself and his agency a backlash. The majority of the people, especially those who follow hockey, were on the side of equal rights for the LGBT community. Mr. Reynolds chose to be an agent, and to start an agency. What will he do when he finds out that one of his clients, gay or straight, is in favor of equal marriage rights for the LGBT community? Will he tell that client he will no longer represent him because of his or her beliefs, or will he keep the percentage of the contract money he makes from his client’s contract? I would love to know the answer to that question. Will he or will he not be a hypocrite.
This is not all about my community, the gay community. It is about our society, and not thinking when we speak. Just this past Saturday LeBron James used the word ‘retarded’ in speaking of a question from a reporter directed at this teammate Dwayne Wade. No, I don’t believe that LeBron is that naïve, or insensitive. However, he has to remember that he, along with Lady Gaga, Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Silverman, Rush Limbaugh and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel are public figures. They cannot use words that hurt others. These words have consequences, not only to those who use them, but to those who they hurt. And yes, those consequences to those they hurt could be catastrophic!
Lastly, Major League Baseball has to do more in teaching its players and coaches to be aware of their words and actions. How many more times will we hear or read about a player (Chicago Cubs Pitcher Julian Taverez), or a coach (Atlanta Braves Pitching Coach Roger McDowell) use the word ‘faggot’. These words hurt…period…and they must stop.
As a nation, we have many issues that need to be addressed, and they will take time to be resolved. However, we have the power to fix this one deadly problem that at times brings our great nation to its knees. We can, rather we must, stop the unsolicited hurtful words that affect our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
Thanks for reading and remember,
Never Strike Out!