We’re about 9 months past the premiere of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Network’s public service announcement that shows Phoenix Suns Grant Hill (above) and Jared Dudley scolding teens who use “gay” as a euphemism for lame. A hateful TV viewer like myself can’t help but poke holes in the spot, particular Hill’s salvo, “you’re better than that” (some kids aren’t better than that), while the more sophisticated Kevin Arnovitz of True Hoop admits to mixed feelings about the spot.
“It’s not difficult to imagine (kids) look at a spot like this one and react the way I did when I first saw “Reefer Madness” as a teen,” writes Arnovitz, who wisely decided to quiz Hill and Dudley about the PSA’s effectiveness.
Both players said the largest volume of feedback they’ve gotten has come on social media platforms.
“I can tell when it’s been aired,” Hill said because his Twitter mentions stream will fill up. “You get folks. Some appreciate, some negative stuff, too.”
Dudley, who spends a lot more time on Twitter than Hill, says he’ll inevitably get the “Hey, Jared, that commercial is gay,” when the spot airs.
Neither Hill nor Dudley has heard from gay teens who feel affirmed by the ad, or received any Atta Boys from players around the league.
“It’s not one of those things that’s discussed,” Hill said. “It’s not one of those things that’s, ‘Hey, what was it like doing that?’ Or, ‘What prompted you to do it?’ Or, ‘It was courageous for you to be a part of that.’ I haven’t gotten any of that.”
Hill isn’t self-congratulatory, but he uses proud and courageous as characterizations, markers that say less about Hill’s self-regard and more about how far the NBA still has to travel on the issue.