A reader writes:
You’re usually the last person I’d send a Sports Illustrated article, but this one’s too important to pass up. I don’t know if you’ve been following the story about Nick Kasa, but essentially, this is a college kid, ready for the NFL, and he got caught telling the truth about the interview process teams do before the NFL Draft. Namely, teams are asking potential players, both directly and indirectly, if they’re gay.
So Ed Schultz, of whom I must admit to being no big fan, interviewed one of my favorite players, Brendon Ayanbadejo, a recent Super Bowl champion who used to play for my hometown Chicago Bears. Ayanbadejo, as you know, has been an outspoken advocate of LGBT rights, one of the few NFL players to do so. But he went on Schultz’s show and encouraged rookies, for the sake of their own personal careers, to, if they are gay, lie about their sexuality, since it could be the difference between getting picked higher and getting picked lower, along with the obvious salary differences.
While I find it refreshing to hear someone tell the truth for a change – that players interested in their own careers need to do what’s best for them – this just makes me more and more frustrated with my favorite sport.
I can deal with the homophobes in the locker room; I’ve met enough of them in the real world to know that they’re usually all talk and often are converted to being lesser douchebags as they have their worlds opened up to new ideas. But that NFL scouts and executives, the most powerful people in their leagues, would be asking these kinds of questions … that’s what I find truly depressing. Most of these aren’t people with deep-seated religious or ethical beliefs; they’re just worried about having the next PR story be about “their gay.” How thoroughly disgusting that they’d pick THIS to focus on.
The best player to ever play for my Bears is named Brian Urlacher. He was dumb enough to impregnate a woman who had already been convicted stalking Michael Flatley – yes, the Lord of the Dance himself – much to the consternation of Urlacher’s wife. How is that somehow more moral, more Christian, or less of a PR crisis than simply being attracted to other dudes?
Ugh. Sorry for the vent. This shit just drives me bonkers.
By the way, Ayanbadejo, along with fellow NFL player Chris Kluwe, just filed a joint Supreme Court brief in support of overturning Prop 8.