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Support for gay rights has advanced faster and further than I think anyone would have guessed a decade ago. Marriage equality in nine states and the District of Columbia? Really, who would have thought it? Here's another one: If you'd said, a decade ago, that the president of the NFL Players Association would soon be writing about how he looks forward to the day when a professional football player comes out as gay during his career, most people would likely have been very surprised by that as well. And yet, Domonique Foxworth writes that, despite intending to write "a nice Black History Month piece no one can disagree with," he ended up feeling "compelled to write about a modern-day civil rights movement."
It is my hope that the next generation of athletes will not support a culture of ignorance and discrimination and that gay athletes will feel comfortable being open about their sexuality. As we saw in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, progress comes with education and dialogue. And, at least in football, I want to make sure we are creating a forum where both can occur and people embrace diversity. Goal Thermometer
Foxworth isn't out there alone as a pioneer in support for gay rights among football players, of course; this season saw high-profile support for marriage equality from players like the Minnesota Vikings' Chris Kluwe and the Baltimore Ravens' Brendon Ayanbadejo. Not to engage in negative stereotyping or anything, but jocks! Successful, professional jocks!

Like I say, this is an issue moving mindblowingly fast. And already there's an effort to give voters in at least one state the chance to keep moving it forward in 2014. That state is Oregon, and it would be great if you'd donate to the campaign to make marriage equality a reality in Oregon.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 03:23 PM PST.

Also republished by The Wide World of Sports and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  One of the reasons things are moving so fast (8+ / 0-)

    are the thousands of grassroots organizers and volunteers (like my late husband) who have pounded the pavement and made tens of thousands of telephone calls. Let's not forget those of us on the front lines as we praise public figures, athletes, and organizations for all the great things they've done.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 03:32:53 PM PST

    •  Opposition's recycled tactics from Loving v. Va. (7+ / 0-)

      As much as the grass movement helps, so does the fact that the same tired argument that was used in defense of anti misegenation laws is being used to deny people their civil rights -- just as the argument against allowing gays to openly serve in the military are the same that were used to keep segregated units through WW II.

      •  They are using new tired arguments, too (0+ / 0-)

        Haters, I'm sorry to be so blunt -- but the argument that we need heterosexual-only marriage because straight couples sometimes forget to use condoms is just, well, batshit fucking insane.

        I'm surprised the legal briefs in opposition to that argument were as buttoned-down and polite as they were.

        ad astra per alia porci

        by harrije on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 01:39:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's the ordinary, everyday person (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ontheleftcoast, harrije

      that can make the big difference -- once someone personally knows someone who's gay, it's a lot harder for them to demonize the entire group.

      But there'll always be a certain percentage of people who need high-profile stars, be they from sports, film or music, to make it okay to be accepting (which is several steps beyond merely "tolerant").

      I hang out on the ESPN Conversation boards at times -- being from the SF Bay Area and a fan of my local teams, I've seen the gamut of homophobic remarks about the teams and their fan bases. But lately, I've seen just a teeny bit more of a pushback, and not just from fellow Bay Area fans. Sure, it's going to be a Big Effing Deal when an active athlete from one of the four major sports (NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB) comes out publicly, but eventually, when the furor dies down he'll just be another player.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 12:56:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Add Minnesota to the list (0+ / 0-)

    After they deal with taxes and budget stuff (which is a mess created by Republicans), the now-Democratic legislature will pass marriage equality. Some Republicans might even vote for it. And then it will be law.

    MN doesn't have initiatives or referenda and I doubt the State Supreme Court will call it unconstitutional.

    “If you misspell some words, it’s not plagiarism.” – Some Writer

    by Dbug on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 01:15:53 AM PST

  •  The Seattle Sounders (6+ / 0-)

    just put out a video in support of Robbie Rogers who came out as gay recently.

    I realize many in the US still don't consider soccer football a major sport but on the world stage it definitely is.

    What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

    by ontheleftcoast on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 12:34:46 PM PST

  •  Is football a special case? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I wonder how much courage it would take for a currently active football player to come out?

    Groundbreakers in other settings -- Jackie Robinson, for example -- had to endure a lot of abuse.  Robinson, however, didn't make his living in a business where people are constantly hitting you and your chance of injury is high, even when no malice is involved.

    Jack Johnson might be a better example, but I think boxing may be safer than football. At least you're not going to get blindsided, gang-tackled, or picked up and thrown to the ground.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 12:37:15 PM PST

    •  Forget who the standup comedian (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      was who said it was easier to be black than gay -- you don't have to tell anyone, "Folks, I'm black." (Yeah, the guy was black, no racism there.)

      I find a lot of hypocrisy (surprise!) from the sports stars and the sports fans who talk about the "sin of homosexuality" while ignoring their colleagues and idols who beat up their girlfriends/wifes, or who father children with numerous women then try to skip out on the child support.

      If you're talking about sports that involve hitting people on a regular basis, take a look at hockey -- they're making groundbreaking steps with the You Can Play Project, with videos involving players at all levels of play from college all the way to the pros. Glad to see other sports getting into the mix -- time for MLB and NBA to make sure they're part of the 21st Century.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 12:49:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, let's put it this way: I will be very (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        impressed when an active player comes out and plays in a game.  I don't think I'd have the courage to do that.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 12:53:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not sure how easy it is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite, dinotrac

          to get hold of, but the local Comcast Sports network did a documentary last year -- Out: The Glenn Burke Story. While Burke wasn't out publicly, his sexual orientation was an open secret to his teammates, and for the most part they were okay with it as long as he contributed on the field. The real panicking was in the front office, especially when he was with the Dodgers and openly involved with Tommy Lasorda's son Tommy Jr. -- Lasorda basically forced the Dodgers to trade Burke to the A's to split up the couple.

          On my DVR now is another Comcast Sports production, The Last Barrier, on homophobia in pro sports and wondering when the leagues will be ready for an active male athlete coming out. Haven't watched it yet but it's still there waiting for me.

          Would what happened to Burke happen today? I'd like to think not -- we've come a long way since those days.

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 01:05:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The proof of the pudding (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          will be if and when such a player comes out, will his teammates have his back?

          liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

          by RockyMtnLib on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 01:12:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'd like to think his teammates would. (0+ / 0-)

            The real question is whether the opponents would be gunning for his scalp.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 01:54:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Then there should be extra scrutiny (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              for several games. League officials should look closely at plays involving the one who comes out, then take names and kick ass on anyone who tries to hurt that player.

              liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

              by RockyMtnLib on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 03:55:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Absolutely. Guy's still going to have to be (0+ / 0-)

                pretty brave.

                Maybe NFL players are more forward-thinking than I give them credit for.

                Some of them certainly are.

                In a game where 280 lb giants can run at you like track stars, I will not doubt the courage of the man who lines up across from them after telling the world who he really is.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 05:59:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Wanda Sykes? n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  As the opposition shrinks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontheleftcoast, Cali Scribe

    it is narrowing more & more down to the most shrill, vicious, bigoted people, & the religious ideologues, often the same group. The end to DADT & the Maine vote stunned these folks. Wherever marriage equality is adopted, it ceases to be news in like two weeks. & that must be really scary to the 'phobes.  

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 12:48:19 PM PST

  •  I wonder when we're going to make progress (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    On Trans issues? We seem to always get left on the curb or even under the bus. Don't get me wrong, I fully support marriage equality and I have worked hard to make it a reality but I also would like to have the "right" to work and support myself, the "right" to adequate housing, access to services, quality medical care, etc. The fact is that in my state and the vast majority of others, I can be denied all of those things, solely because I am Trans. When is it my turn? Some gay Americans seem to think that my struggle shouldn't involve them in any way. They will accept my support for their cause but feel no obligation to reciprocate. I don't think that the majority of the Gay community feels that way but there are enough to entirely stymie progress.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 01:11:20 PM PST

  •  Extreme irony surrounding the Pope-- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elizaveta, skrekk

    He appears to be closeting himself with his BFF, all the while the Bishops are rabidly anti-gay.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 01:11:53 PM PST

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