By Aaron McQuade
So for the last week, I’ve been meaning to write an update on some of the sports projects we’ve been working on here at GLAAD, and some of the positive work towards creating and cultivating an LGBT-inclusive atmosphere in the world of competitive athletics. And every time I sat down to start writing – like clockwork – something else happened.
On Monday, I wanted to write about how wonderful our meeting was with MLB executives a few weeks ago. Then HRC released Sean Avery’s pro-marriage PSA. I wanted to write about both of those, then Philadelphia 76ers forward Mareese Speights tweeted the f-word at a friend of his. I wanted to write about those three, then NC State basketball star CJ Leslie tweeted that he didn’t want gay people in the locker room. Then Speights realized his mistake and offered a heartfelt apology. Then an NHL agent made some anti-gay comments about Avery’s marriage video. Then Leslie apologized. Then Carolina Panthers linebacker Nic Harris posed for the NOH8 campaign. Then Charles Barkeley reitterated his support for marriage equality and said that the world of pro sports is ready for an openly gay athlete (if they’re good enough.) Then the New York Times profiled (our friends) Ben Cohen and Hudson Taylor and their respective efforts at eliminating anti-gay attitudes from sports. Then Phoenix Suns president Rick Welts came out.
So I’m drafting my outline last night, and I’m trying to figure out whether I’m going to be able to tie all this stuff together – or whether I’m going to spend all day today writing 19 different blog posts about all these various sports stories – and naturally, one more story breaks.
First, came the airing of this GLSEN/Ad Council PSA against anti-gay bullying, featuring NBA players Grant Hill and Jared Dudley:
And here are couple of screenshots from the Hill’s Twitter feed – after the spot aired.
And here’s Grant’s response:
And as you can see from Grant’s decision to take a stand - and Charles Barkley’s, and Sean Avery’s, and Nic Harris’s, and Hudson Taylor’s and Ben Cohen’s and Rick Welts’s, etc. - we are at an amazing and historic momentwhen it comes to acceptance and inclusion in the world of sports.
The culture of athletics is moving forward. And nobody - not that NHL agent, certainly not the folks who sent homophobic messages to Grant Hill – is going to stop it.
I can only hope I have to do another one of these ”wide world of sports”-style posts next week. (cue the end music)