Staying In Should Be Harder Than Coming out

Posted: January 6, 2011 in Fans and Opinions, Misc.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

By Phil Bausk

Jon Amaechi was a backup NBA center for nearly 7 years. He had stints with the Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Orlando Magic, and was as well known as Lou Bega’s follow up to Mambo #5. He spent years in the shadows behind all-star teammates such as John Stockton, Karl Malone, Glen Rice, and others.

In 2007, well after his professional basketball career was over, Amaechi came out with a book titled Man in the Middle,  revealing to the public that he spent his entire NBA career in the closet, and that this book was his public declaration of his homosexual lifestyle. He became the first NBA player to publicly speak about being gay, and faced both support and criticism from his peers.

As fans, we forget about bench players such as Amaechi, unless a person in his situation does something drastic like he did a few years ago. The question here was what other players would do the same thing after seeing how Amaechi’s announcement was received, and whether or not we would see another player come out of the closet, either during or after his professional career.

Before Amaechi came out, I had never really thought of professional athletes being openly gay, and I am sure that makes me a bit ignorant and homophobic. I have been called worse things so I think I can deal with those barbs being thrown my way. It is interesting though that most people have forgotten Amaechi’s decision to come out, and I am surprised that in today’s flamboyant culture, it’s never really been brought back up.

The homosexual/metro-sexual culture has become so prevalent in today’s society, it is relatively surprising that there isn’t more discussion about it in professional, or collegiate sports. Sure there are female athletes who have admitted to being lesbians, but unless its the Lindsey Vonns of the female sports world, the boys club of the media isn’t going to pay much attention to it. There is much more of a stigma for a male athlete to come out of the closet, because of all the locker room talk, butt slapping, and general homo eroticism that comes with being a professional athlete.

I’ve been to the mountain top. I have seen more dongs than any man should see before the age of 25. I have been smacked on my awful excuse for a butt more times than the number of lines of cocaine at Michael Irvin’s annual Super Bowl party. Would it bother me if I found out that one of those guys I spent years playing sports with was gay? Maybe at first, but I would be able to get past it as society has taught me a lot since I was 16.

Some athletes handled the Amaechi situation terribly. Tim Hardaway tarnished his legacy forever with his comments he made about homosexuals. Shavlik Randolph didn’t want any gayness thrusted upon him, and others echoed both Hardaway’s and Randolph’s sentiments.

As a society, we should be a lot more understanding of this issue, and progress has been made in recent years. Not only should athletes and fans be respectful of someone who were to come out of the closet, but they should appreciate how tough it must have been for said athlete to stay in the closet, and then come out and put their reputation on the line with their teammates and the rest of the league. While this athlete may ultimately be on the “losing” end of some rat tails in the locker room, at the end of the day, everything should stay the same and people should just go on playing the sport that they love to play.

For years I have been wondering which current, or recently retired, athlete may be hiding in the closet. Is there an athlete that cowered as they saw Amaechi triumphantly opened the closet door, as they hid in the shadows not to be seen by the general public? Obviously this is just speculation but here is a short list of athletes I feel may be trapped in the closet, just not like how RKelly was.

Wally Szczerbiak

I am going to refer to him as Wally, because his last name is just way too frustrating to type over and over. Wally spent the first part of his career in the spotlight. He had a big NCAA tournament at Miami (OH), and was a lottery selection of the Minnesota Timberwolves. In 2002, Wally made his first and only all-star team, and was starting to become a formidable player alongside Kevin Garnett. He was then traded to Boston where he struggled, and then shipped to Cleveland where knee injuries hampered his abilities. So how does this make him gay you ask? There is no player in sports whose hair is done quite so well like Wally’s. Every game he appeared like he was ready to get in front of the camera for some sort of Calvin Klein photo shoot. As an athlete, my hair is the least of my concerns before a game. It appeared that Wally would take care of his hair, especially before a game. 

One thing I have going against me is that Wally is currently married, and he has 3 children. But in my favor, Wally’s youngest was named Maximus Jack. Perhaps Wally attempted to give him the manliest name possible  to cover something up? Or maybe this is the name Wally wishes his wife had. Obviously this is only speculation, but his hairstyle ultimately has bothered me since he was drafted in 1999.

Jimmy Clausen

One of the golden boys from a long list of Notre Dame quarterbacks, Clausen has been rubbing fans the wrong way for about 3-4 years now. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers last year, and has struggled mightily so far in his short NFL Career. There are 3 reasons in specific why I suspect Clausen to be batting for the other team. Firstly, it always comes back to the hair. Clausen has had that frosted tips to the max, spiked up hair style since he was a senior in high school. Yes, it may have been in back when Lance Bass went with in back in the day, but you have to let it go at some point. Secondly, after watching him play, both at Notre Dame and Carolina, I have not seen many quarterbacks shy away from contact as much as he has. He will always look to slide or run out of bounds, and tends to start falling during sacks before he is officially wrapped up. Finally, Clausen was in a bar fight during his time at Notre Dame. According to some reports from the bar, Clausen left with a black eye and a giant welt on his face. His girlfriend dumped him soon after, leaving him with both a physical and emotional scar. Maybe it was from that point on he realized he needed the Lance Bass hair cut to make him feel like a man. Who knows, but I am just saying the idea isn’t totally far-fetched.

Mike Piazza

Liked to squat, bleached his hair blonde, threw like a girl. Maybe it was these factors that made people believe Piazza was gay during his tenor with the New York Mets. The media openly questioned his sexuality, and Pizza even had to address this situation with reporters. What amazed me is how Piazza, who spent most of his career in the limelight of the Big Apple,  was never seen gallivanting with women in the west village, or partying with super models in Chelsea. Again, now he is married with children but something just doesn’t sit right with me about the way he spent his time in New York. Something tells me he dragged Carlos Baerga and Rey Ordonez to a lot of art galleries that they didn’t want to go to.

Alex Rodriguez

For me, AROD (otherwise known in upper Connecticut and most of Massachusetts as GAYROD) is the most likely of all athletes to be gay. Now I know you are thinking I am just saying  this because I hate AROD more than any other athlete, but I think there is some decent logic to this point. Back in the day I wrote a very long, detailed article about my theory about Mr. Rodriguez’s sexual preference. It is not longer on the internet, otherwise I would’ve gladly posted it for all of you to read. For one, a man in his position can definitely cheat on his wife with much more attractive and feminine strippers than he has been caught with in the past. And why would a guy of his stature have to pay for sex? I am sure there are women who would  throw themselves at him no matter the circumstance. In addition, there’s the infamous left handed bitch-slap of the baseball out of Bronson Arroyo’s hand in game 6 of the 2004 ALCS, as depicted at the top of this article.

My favorite AROD story is lesser known. During a Home Run Derby, i forget which year this took place, AROD was seen wearing fancy clothing, while watching the competition with the rest of his peers. It is customary for players elected to play in the All-Star game to wear the All-Star jerseys during the Home Run Derby as they watch others compete. Right down the 3rd base line, ESPN got a great shot of AROD standing there, hair done like he was going to the Oscars, button-down shirt tucked into his Brooks Brothers (that’s very fancy to me) pants, neatly coming to rest on top of his shoes that most likely are worth more than my life. While it isn’t the most homo-erotic thing to do, I just don’t think you can respect a man like that. If AROD were gay, it wouldn’t change my opinion of him. If anything, it would make me think better of him. Gay or straight, Alex Rodriguez is one man society should always be ignorant of.

Athletes should not feel ashamed of who they are. I know dealing with insults that I have dealt with or dished out in past locker rooms won’t hit home as hard as something as  personal as a gay joke, but the goal is to get to the point where those aren’t actual insults. If there can come a day where athletes are alright with coming out of the closet, to the point where it just becomes part of everyday locker room talk, then sports has succeeded in teaching us a valuable lesson.

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Comments
  1. suck my penis says:

    Why are all the guys you mentioned white?!?!?!

  2. suck my penis says:

    and since you notice the hair and all of this doesn’t that make you gay????

  3. vicki says:

    i don’t think you come across as progressive as you mean to. but anyway.

    as for the rod? just because he likes it when blonde sluts do him from behind that doesnt make a guy gay. not that i know the type or anything.

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