Friday, March 12, 2010

Good Enough to Play. Unless You're Gay!?!

As a sportsman there is nothing I hate worse than telling someone hey shouldn't do that sport whether because of disability, race or sexual orientation. I'm a great advocate of the paralympian movement. I believe we should show racism the red card and same applies to homophobia.

Therefore the words of Rudi Assauer former player, ex-manager of German team Schalke 04 and now a player agent really upset me.

"If a player came to me and said he was gay I would say to him: 'You have shown courage'. But then I would tell him to find something else to do.

"That's because those who out themselves always end up busted by it, ridiculed by their fellow players and by people in the stands. We should spare them these witch hunts."

But why do such witch hunts exist? Because there are no openly gay professional footballers in any of the major leagues. It's not they aren't there, the ability to play football isn't based on the gender you prefer. Heck we have had Donal Og Cusack, of Cork's hurling team in October and Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas in December both coming out in far more physical sports than football.

In a related story American skater Johnny Weir has been deemed not family friendly enough for the touring show Stars on Ice. The skater who is a three times US national champion who came sixth in the Vancouver Olympics. He was the butt of jokes from Australian and French commentators at the event.

Australian Channel Nine presenters Eddie McGuire and Mick Molloy took aim at his masculinity and pink and black costume, while French sportscasters Claude Mailhot and Alain Goldberg of the RDS network suggested he should take a gender test and that he was a "bad example".

Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) claims that sponsors Smuckers and IMG Entertainment, refused to allow Weir to participate, because he refuses to clarify his sexuality.

They challenged his family friendliness by saying:

"To say that Weir is 'not family friendly' would be a clear jab at his perceived sexual orientation.

"Weir is extremely involved with his family. He is putting his younger brother through college, and supports the family financially because his father’s disability prohibits him from working."

Weir himself has not commented on this latest story, but in Vancouver about the comments he countered with this rather tongue in cheek riposte:

"There are some things I keep sacred. My middle name. Who I sleep with. And what kind of hand moisturiser I use."

The guy has class, see the rest of that press conference.

Let's not forget that post Olympics in the run up to the Worlds in 1976 the Gold Medalist John Curry was outed as gay. He was good enough to win gold, sportsmen if they are good enough shouldn't matter who they fancy.

1 comment:

Tim Trent said...

Strange, isn't it, how we stereotype people in sport. Soccer players are alleged to be macho, so cannot be anything other than raw meat eating heterosexuals, often rough and Ulrika Jonsson discovered to her cost. Ice skaters have to be poofs because their sport is graceful.

Yet no-one can tell from the outside what we are like on the inside. Stand me next to a cousin and he is judged to be the gay one because he is as camp as a row of tents. Me, I am a bloke, with blokeish traits.

It's time people realised that sexual orientation is but a single attribute of the many we all have. Why we are all so interested in what other people do with their genitals is beyond me, and why it is relevant to their skills, unless they are sex workers, is a mystery!


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