Thursday, February 08, 2007

Amaechi-do About Nothing

John Amaechi. Gay.

According to the Boston Celtics, that's Gay-OK.

Just, uh, make sure you let Al Jefferson know to keep both hands on the soap.

Jefferson was uncertain about how teammates and fans would react if a current player came out. Amaechi, like those in U.S. team sports before him, didn’t do so until after his retirement.
“I don’t know,” Jefferson said. “It’s hard to say. I mean, would his teammates want to play on the same team with him? I don’t know. You’ve got to understand teammates take showers with each other. They’re around each other every day. I don’t know. I can’t speak on that.

Gays, people. In our NBA lockerrooms. Taking showers -- and they're probably using lavender-scented soaps. Explain to me how Mark Blount is going to concentrate on pulling down an offensive rebound if he has to rub bodies with some European named Michel, taut and glistening, his hair like meadowgrass, on the tide...

So John Amaechi is gay. Just like Esera Tuaolo and that guy who wrote Moneyball.*

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Ukraine is game to you?! How 'bout I take your board and smash it to pieces?!

= = =

* May not be accurate.

Edit: In the interest of furthering the discourse, and in response to a previous comment, I give my fully articulated opinion on the matter, unsullied by sarcasm and references to Tom Waits:

My objective here was two-fold, and I admit that while writing this in haste, I sacrificed some precision in my analysis. One, comments such as those made by Al Jefferson (and others; Shavlik Randolph said, "As long as you don't bring your gayness on me I'm fine") suggest that NBA players aren't necessarily prepared to deal with an openly-gay teammate. But Amaechi, as a retired player and not one of great import (journeyman role player for five seasons) isn't as impactful as the media would like for us to believe. That he is the first openly-gay former NBA player is mere trivia -- retired athletes in other sports (the NFL's Esera Tuaolo, MLB's Billy Bean) have already as much as confirmed that homosexuality in the locker room or clubhouse is a reality. But a retired player gives players such as Jefferson and Randolph a measure of security, in that they don't need to confront him in their professional capacities. What sport needs to really progress on this issue is the first openly-gay active player. Given some of the attitudes expressed about Amaechi, it will probably take a true star player to overcome the ensuing stigma and scrutiny.

So there it is: 1) professional basketball players aren't necessarily socially enlightened, and 2) Amaechi's announcement does little to alter perceptions beyond what his predecessors have already accomplished.

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Blogger Serpico said...

I don't really understand what you are saying or how you feel about the issue. Are you okay with gay professional athletes or not?

Would you prefer that homosexuals get banned from sports? I understand how it can make another athlete uncomfortable, but they are professional athletes. They get payed in order to be able to play under pressure.

As far as I'm concerned, if a pro athlete is so concerned by his fellow athletes sexuality that he can't concentrate on his game, then they certainly can't handle the pressures of the playoffs or fulfilling his contract, and not getting injured.

It would seem that this hypothetical professional athlete is no "pro" at all.

Sat Feb 10, 07:00:00 PM EST  
Anonymous bart said...

I'm not sure what serpico means. The article seems to me to contront the attitudes expressed by players such as Jefferson and Randolph but also states that Amachi isn't very groundbreaking. I'm also not sure what serpico means by the part about being able to handle pressure. Bigotry and being able to handle pressure do not have to be linked as far as I can tell.

Mon Mar 12, 02:34:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Serpico said...

I am sorry if I was confused as to the message of the article. I had read a different meaning of the article and perhaps I was mistaken.

I do not mean to excuse bigotry by relating it to pressure in anyway. Instead, I mean to put the bigotry on the shoulders of the bigot. I'd prefer that they not be bigots, but even a bigot that feels nervous about homosexuality in the locker room should be able to suck it up and make it a non-issue for their game.

Tue Mar 13, 02:07:00 AM EDT  

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