The Uncomfortable Truth About Gay Athletes
Last comment by 22 1 year, 2 months ago.

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A short time ago, basketball journeyman Jason Collins came out of the locker room, so to speak, with the announcement that he was gay. The first male athlete in a major North American sport to make such an announcement, Collins was lauded by many pundits as a hero, in part because Collins is near the end of his career and not under contract to any NBA team.

Some Christians chaffed at the accolades being lobbed at the big man like an entry pass on the block. One popular social media meme asked, “Why is Tim Tebow told to keep quiet about his Christian lifestyle when Jason Collins is treated like a hero for announcing his?” This is classic confirmation bias: when people with a certain viewpoint seek out opinions to validate their beliefs or twist logic to accomplish the same goal.

Both Christians and gay athletes will be defined more by what they do on the field than off. This is why Ray Lewis (charged with murder), Josh Hamilton (substance abuser), Dany Heatley (vehicular manslaughter) and many other stars are allowed to return to the field of play (or they are never removed) despite off-field incidents. The life a player leads away from the field must be very extreme indeed to convince a sport to remove star power from its brand.

But athletes without off-field baggage have lives away from the stadiums and fans as well. Some, like Tebow, are devout Christians. Others, like Collins, are gay—although the NBA journeyman is the only one to openly admit it. While a Christian athlete can (and will) mention their faith in postgame interviews, kneel in prayer after touchdowns, genuflect before taking the mound or the stepping into the batter’s box or make any other number of Christian overtures as part of the game or its attending media circus, the gay athlete isn’t asking for the leeway to do anything so demonstrative. Instead, those men and women simply do not want to hide behind the façade of heterosexuality in their professional lives. Moreover, although the subject has not been covered extensively, gay athletes might hope to obtain some degree of protection under the law against discrimination by their leagues. Imagine if Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan (a Muslim) refused to sign a player he deemed “too Christian” (Tebow conspiracy theorists, don your tinfoil hats). There would be blood, metaphorically speaking.

The truth is that acting like a Christian during a sporting event in a majority-Christian country isn’t brave. It is an admirable expression of faith. And while we have the right to deem certain lifestyles immoral under our articles of faith (whatever they are), those articles of faith are purposely held at arm’s length from the law by the Bill of Rights. It takes more courage to be a genuine pioneer in sports. In truth, Christians and the LGBT community have a lot in common when it comes to athletics. This invariably makes the Christians a little squirmier than the gay community, but the parallels are still there, just outside the periphery of confirmation bias. Christians want to be “Christian athletes,” and gay athletes want to be “gay athletes.” Neither group wants to be excluded from one designation because of the other. And neither should be.


Latest Activity: May 20, 2013 at 10:40 PM


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22 commented on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 09:49 AM

Maybe you should read up on the history of gay athletes.

22 commented on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 14:27 PM

I thought John Amaechi was. Also thought he jumped from a bridge but it was a dam.

Bryant commented on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 17:59 PM

22, huh??

Scott Garner commented on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 20:27 PM

Amaechi came out after he had announced his retirement.

Bryant commented on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 22:04 PM

Thanks for clearing that one up.

22 commented on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 09:56 AM

I don't see Jason Collins as some pioneer. Many other athletes or professional people all over the world have stepped to the plate or microphone. I have many mixed feeling about the whole gay agenda or homosexuality. Even bigger problem with the fact that many people point the finger at Christians a scream homophobic, judgmental, tinfoil hat wearing racist. If you are a man playing elbow to elbow as a team and if the old expression your only as strong as your weakest link then, a team who players are 90% straight males. The stigmata alone would hinder a winning formula. I don’t have any kids. But I often wonder how I am going to cope with this issue. There is a gay or ambiguously gay character on ever TV show. Gay pride this and gay pride that and its ok for them to tell my sons or my daughters its ok to be gay. Its kind of like the old song “you have to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything”. I have to stand at my own threshold and put my foot down to the world. And educate my children that is not natural in the lest to be gay. I have a lot of gay friends I know gay people some are loud and boisterous some very conservative. I do and can love each and everyone of them. And I can teach my children to love them and have compassion and except them. I don’t go around trying to take the bottle out of a drunks hand but I should not have to sit back and watch him place the bottle in my child's hands. I guess today Scott I have to stand for something. And I my not be a self proclaimed Christian but I can see the many many wrongful accusations placed on them as a whole because of the actions of a very few. It makes me mad to hear people slam the christain faith all the time. I do not understand religion as I do not understand homosexuality. I guess I learn most from example. One man on his knees praying on man on his knees... I think ill kneel with the man praying.

Scott Garner commented on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 22:25 PM

Well, 22, my own brother is gay, and he's an exceptional human being whom I love, although I am staunchly heterosexual. My point was not to cast Christians as bigots or homophobes but to point out that athletes with either Christianity or homosexuality in their backgrounds should not be defined as such. My second point was to illustrate that Christians in sport freely display their faith--gay athletes should not be consigned to the closet.

If you (or anyone else) chooses to reject homosexuality as a matter of faith, that is your right and I respect that right. However, as a matter of public discourse--the "public" being made up of people of varying faiths and beliefs--it is neanderthalic to relegate the LGBT community to the back of the bus.

22 commented on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 08:54 AM

Scott, Brothers are great, I wish everbody could have one. My brother is dead. If he were alive and gay that be cool with me. But if my brother as a gay man made a stand at the front of the bus, made new laws to force the public to see the world as he does, that its ok to tell another mans son its ok to be gay. Me and my brother would have to disagree.

22 commented on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 09:08 AM

I kinda like the dont ask dont tell. If I dont ask you if your gay dont tell me. If I dont ask you if your a baptist dont tell me. Dont impose your religion or your sexuality on anyone. I feel that the gay comunity is cramming this crap down my throught. Force feeding me me there beliefs like puritans. I dont care if your gay I dont care if your mamma's gay. I dont care if your a hindu or if your a baptist. I do care when you are trying to shead light on what you believe is true enlightenment for the spirit and love of man. Dont go to the back of the bus just sit down and shut up.

Scott Garner commented on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 22:46 PM

22, maybe you should re-read the original post. Try hitting that fourth paragraph again. Really laser in on the fourth sentence. Then contrast the point not-so-subtly nested therein with your previous comment.

This is why people on the Intertoobs have disjointed conversations.

Passinthru commented on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 23:03 PM

Interesting mix of metaphors, Scott, though with my being a member of the most boring and unpopular of minorities - the elderly, straight, non-religious, white, conservative, male variety - I find life much more comfortable when supported by those old proven values rather than the new and alien normalcy of the day.

Consequently my rejection of homosexuality is less a matter of faith, more a matter of hygiene.

Sparklebeam commented on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 12:11 PM

I highly recommend the 2007 documentary, "For the Bible Tells Me So"...your mind CAN expend without breaking, however it may cause a bit of discomfort.

22 commented on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Scott, I re-read and re-read again. Still have no idea as to what you are trying to tell me.

Sparklebeam, Unconditional love for gay men and women or unconditional love for all men and women? When someone is trying to tell me what the bible says does cause a bit of discomfort. Especially “highly recommended documentaries”. In matters of gay rights and straight rights there is no right. So by law you can preach what ever you want. So to preach of what the bible says about gay rights or straight rights is just that, preaching. I am saying that you have no right to tell me what is right or wrong when it come to being gay. You liken this issue to that of faith or belief. I say your faith your belief should not be made mine. I feel am a very open minded person. I feel I am a scientific person. My definition of purposeful sex has only one truth, that truth is offspring. What is one constant truth to the act of homosexual sex? Surely its not childbirth. So any law that has to do with sexuality must have a common truth. I find that truth to be childbirth. One man should not be made to think as another just because one is believed to be close minded. Give both men one fact to stand on.

Charles_and_Angie_Howell commented on Saturday, Jun 01, 2013 at 18:02 PM

Call gay sex what it is... a choice to experience a particular sexual act with a particular person. If we remove the child creation from the equation, all sex is sex for pleasure. Pleasure is a choice.

If one person wants to stand on the Bible and say homosexual sex is wrong, then he should do so. If another person wants to stand in a purely humanistic realm and say it is not wrong, then let him. The way we resolve these issues in a democratic republic SHOULD be with a vote. Simple - thumbs up or thumbs down.

jarock5 commented on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013 at 10:27 AM

22 you can say you are open minded but it doesn't make it so, look up what it means to have an open mind. Homosexuality isn't just about sex it's about companionship as well. No you don't have to like it but you should still treat them as people. Get off the bible thing because we all know people pick and choose when they want to throw the bible issues in. Most people don't live 100 percent by the bible.

22 commented on Friday, Jun 14, 2013 at 14:32 PM

Jarock, I think if you read the post again you will see why, when and how the bible "thing" was brought to life in this conversation. Second when did I ever say not to treat anyone as a human being? The phrase "open mind" is used to often as an implement to shut the minds of others to ones on princeables.

22 commented on Friday, Jun 14, 2013 at 14:45 PM

Jarock, IF your companion abandons you for a beleaf that encompasses a ethic that deems your relationship as wrong, would you be so open minded?


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