No, not like that — it’s the way organized sports, that last great bastion of authorized homophobia, is finally joining the 21st century.
The immediate and disapproving reaction to NFL player Larry Johnson’s frankly ordinary spurt of anti-gay taunting last week was a real surprise and it’s been hilarious watching his tap-dancing lawyer now claim they had no idea the word “faggot” was offensive (umm, Johnson meant it as an insult, dude).
And now we have NBA athlete Drew Gooden in trouble for using the same slur against a fan in LA and, best of all, a Danish soccer team actually firing a virulently homophobic player. Did someone put Ecstacy in the Gatorade?
But what really feels like a sea change in sports is the open letter from NHL player Justin Bourne condemning homophobia in hockey. He writes in USA Today:"It’s time to acknowledge we’ve been unfair to the gay community, that the culture of our sport can be misogynistic, homophobic and cruel. More important, it’s time to make a stand that we want it to change."
Amen, brother! Bourne is now in my own personal Hockey Hall of Fame. I’m so happy about such long-awaited evolution that I won’t even be churlish enough to mention that, in all the hooplah over the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s newfound love for its gay fans, Xtra’s own Josh Levy wrote about it back in July.
Nah…that just wouldn’t be sporting!