Not surprisingly, Torii Hunter’s gay comment is causing a backlash. Writer Kevin Baxter, in an Los Angeles Times report, wrote a compelling piece on the subject of being gay or having a same-sex attraction in professional sports. But get this: Torii Hunter blames the gay comment on his religious upbringing. Imagine that?
The Times writer pointed out in his Dec. 29 how professional athletes still feel unwelcome if they identify with the LGBT community. While it’s just the unwritten rule for professional male athletes some are hopeful that the taboo spirit will change.
The Torii Hunter comment comes on the heels of a tweet made earlier this year in the New England Patriots’ locker room. Then, linebacker Brandon Spikes shocked his fans on Twitter when he said, “just like I’m arachnophobic. I have nothing against homosexuals or spiders but I’d still scream if I found one in my bathtub.”
However, he later said he was joking and the public took him at his word. However, Hunter didn’t bat an eye about his stance on being gay in professional sports.
“For me, as a Christian … I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it’s not right. It will be difficult and uncomfortable.”
Ironically, as social and cultural landscapes in opposition to gays, lesbians and same-sex marriage, have evolved to levels of tolerance in some areas, others continue to be taboo.
For example, it’s cool beans and perfectly acceptable to be a gay senator, governor, musician, dancer or Hollywood celebrity. However, at no time in recorded history has there been an openly-gay member in the NFL, NHL, NBA or MLB.
Torii Hunter’s gay comment is but one example of why many remain holed up about their sexuality. It appears that these groups are the last mainstays of masculinity and homophobia, thanks to beliefs like those Hunter shared.
Sources say 4,000 active members occupied the rolls in professional sports this year. Of this number, about two to four percent are thought to be gay or bisexual. However, they remain keepers of the closet on fears of being ostracized.
To Hunter’s point, many others like him are brought up in a world where it is important to be “straight” by any means necessary, even at the expense of lying. Often times, it begins at home and grade school. Over time, many men learn that it’s safer to stay in the closet.
The gay comment by Torii Hunter may be an non-issue as time goes by; many believe it’s not if, but when all athletes shed the fear veil and stand proudly up against homophobia.
Note to Torii: “Angels” don’t act and say things like that.
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