A friend last night also alerted me to the video by Louis CK below. It's the sanest treatment of the subject of the use of the word "faggot" I have ever heard (and this, while I'm at it, is equally good on the subject of race):
Yes, I understand Jon Amaechi's point. But I also worry that policing the language to this degree (while there are contexts in which the word "faggot" is obviously ugly, and meant to gay-bait and deserves censure) gets tiresome very quickly. I just don't think Kobe Bryant meant to call a referee a homosexual. That does not make me a homophobe.
We're primates with way too much intelligence for our own good. We are never going to lose words that in-groups use to describe out-groups. Let's resolve actual formal legal inequalities and then democratize our hate-words so that everyone gets to use some. And they hurt all of us less.
By the way, if you want to see a positive affirmation of gays in sports, Ben Cohen's example seems to me to be the right one to follow. Instead of policing language for offense, promote openness as a virtue. Watching a straight, professional, jock campaign for getting past stupid homophobia is a thing of beauty. As Ben Cohen is, as well, I might add.