TELANDER: Why should sexual orientation matter in our culture?
BY RICK TELANDER firstname.lastname@example.org | @ricktelander January 4, 2014 12:00AM
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) talks to reporters after The Packers defeated the Chicago Bears 33-28 in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Updated: February 6, 2014 6:26AM
I often have wondered what would happen if I came out and said I was a gay sports columnist.
Would it end a bunch of this nonsense about homosexuality that seemingly will go on until, I don’t know, we have a gay president, a gay home-run king, a gay NASCAR champ, a gay NFL commissioner?
Speaking of which, did you know former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s son, Drew, is gay and the head of PFLAG in New York? Did you know Paul Tagliabue and wife Chandler gave $1 million to Georgetown University to establish the first LGBTQ center at any Catholic university?
Me coming out probably wouldn’t make much difference. I’ve been called homosexual slurs and worse by so many e-mailers through the years that a lot of folks would say, ‘‘Yup, knew it.’’
Anyway, we have a bunch of stuff boiling up with elite sport and the meaning of sexuality, and it seems to be reaching critical mass. There was Richie Incognito and his nasty texts to Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin, a scandal that might end both men’s careers. There is former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe saying he was blackballed from the league because of his support of
There is a YouTube video that seems to show Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers wearing (hilarious!) a thong under his uniform, a headline on the website SB Nation that reads, ‘‘Is Aaron Rodgers Gay?’’ and Rodgers’ own statement Tuesday on a Milwaukee radio station: ‘‘I’m not gay. I really, really like women. That’s all I can say about that.’’
There is much more. The coming Sochi Olympics are embroiled not just in terrorism fears, but also in heated debate about Russia’s laws that limit the rights of people of ‘‘nontraditional sexual orientation.’’ There was openly gay NBA player Jason Collins coming out last year at the end of his career and former 49ers and Raiders offensive lineman Kwame Harris being charged with assault for brawling with his former boyfriend outside a sushi restaurant in Menlo Park, Calif.
Gay people aren’t good or bad. They just are, like all of us.
I have a pal, Sports on Earth columnist Chuck Culpepper, who came out last year after being inspired by outspoken NFL player and gay activist Brendon Ayanbadejo. The news didn’t shake any journalist’s boats. Hell, we all knew Chuck was gay. Good guy. Good writer. And gay.
So if I were to come out now, would it matter to you readers? To anybody? Would it calm anything? Inflame anything?
Senior-citizen newspaper sportswriter is queer!
It has a ring to it.
And nobody can prove it’s not true.
◆ As bowl GAMES — henceforth to be called Extra Season Games — roll onward, I hope you are enjoying them.
If your team hasn’t played or won’t soon be playing, then your team must be really bad.
If 6-6 Rutgers (now 6-7), 6-6 Washington State (now 6-7) and 7-5 Arkansas State (hurry up, GoDaddy.com Bowl matchup against Ball State!) all can play an extra game, who can’t?
There are 35 Extra Season Games already, and there will be 38, plus an Extra Season National Championship Game, next season.
Thus, out of 125 Football Bowl Subdivision schools (that number varies, depending on how many new schools want to try their luck in the bigs and how many former members have gone bankrupt), fewer than 50 won’t play an Extra Season Game next season.
The coaches of those teams stand a good chance of being fired. And their players will feel depressed and worthless. Which is normal because those players, like gerbils and Asian carp, have been programmed to move forward forever, be it on treadmills, through electric barriers or in games ad nauseam.
Players are the key ingredient, of course.
They say yes to everything. In certain cases, they
actually demean the intelligence of carp.
It doesn’t matter to them, for instance, that ESPN and ABC — both owned by happy-mouse king Walt Disney Co. — televise 33 of the current 35 Extra Season Games, that ESPN outright owns and operates nine of them (11 next season) or that the Extra Season Games bring in a half-billion dollars in gross receipts, a third of which is kept by the bowls, which have part-time bosses averaging, according to USA Today, $489,000 in compensation per year.
Gay, straight or otherwise, amazing.