03.30.13

Seahawks DE Chris Clemons – Putting Hypothetical Team Morale Ahead Of Human Rights

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 6:39 pm by

(above : Clemons, clearly not a fan of attracting attention to one’s self)

Inspired by CBS Sports’ Mike Freeman‘s claims that “ a current gay NFL player is strongly considering coming out publicly within the next few months”, Seattle’s Chris Clemons took to Twitter to opine, “I just think something’s should be left at home”, followed by “I think it’s a selfish act…they just trying to make themselves bigger than the team.”) While there’s no “I” in “team”, “team” remains an anagram for “meat”…and there’s no shortage of meatheads who will continue to argue that taking issue with Clemons’ intolerance is in itself, an act of intolerance.  One meathead in particular, took to the airwaves of Sirius/XM’s Mad Dog Radio earlier this week to channel John Smoltz in comparing support for what he calls “the homosexual agenda” to condoning “dog fucking”.

If Clemons seriously believes that merely being the person you’re born as (a right afforded to every heterosexual in professional sports, if not every other walk of life) is tantamount to a form of egomania, he’s certainly entitled to his screwy opinion, but there’s something unsettling about the notion the quest to earn a ring for Pete Carroll should take a backseat to social progress.  While far from endorsing Clemons’ POV, The Seattle Times’ Danny O’Neil asks, “what if ‘the selfish act’ is coming out as gay in a very public, very political way while on an NFL roster…what defines being gay in a political way? Is it holding a press conference or is it holding hands in public?” Mike Piazza, unavailable for comment.

If a member of a team felt that having someone openly gay as a teammate put the topic of gay rights ahead of the team’s interest, would he be wrong? Not wrong in a moral sense, mind you, but incorrect because the reality is that the first openly gay athlete in an American male team sport is going to become a lightning rod not only for himself but for his teammates. Do the other men in the locker room oppose him, tolerate him or support him? There will be no neutral. There will be no shortage of questions.

But that reality underscores the difficulty facing a gay athlete, not the gay athlete’s teammate.

The first openly gay, active NFL player is not political by choice. Rather, his sexual preference and expressions of affection will be unavoidably political because he is openly gay. Clemons’ Tweets actually recognize this fact. He did not object to any issues of sexual orientation so much as the attention it is accorded. The reality of an openly gay player would become a singularly overwhelming issue for that team.

But whose fault is that? Is it the gay athlete for revealing his sexual orientation or is it society in general and the industry in particular that makes it such an overwhelming issue?

4 Responses to “Seahawks DE Chris Clemons – Putting Hypothetical Team Morale Ahead Of Human Rights”

  1. vince says:

    Clemens is 100 % right . Keep your personal sh*t at home. Being gay has nothing to do with the job that you’re performing and coming out only brings unwanted attention to the team. Nothing but a publicity stunt.

  2. GC says:

    for starters, his name is Clemons. And perhaps coming out has a greater function than merely being a “publicity stunt”. For one thing, it might encourage others in that line of work to do the same. it might also send a strong message to the tons of LGBT persons in this country who are routinely bullied, harassed, discriminated against or worse that they’re not alone. That their civil rights are just as precious as yours or mine. If anyone believes those are secondary concerns compared to winning football games, I’d like to suggest a) the so-called burden of learning to embrace a gay teammate shouldn’t be that big a deal for anyone w/ a soul or half a brain, regardless of the media coverage, b) your priorities are fucked.

  3. vince says:

    Lets make it very clear that I have no problems with homosexuality . But it is also very clear that you’re gay and you have a problem coming out . Please forgive me on the typo of Clemons name. As for having my priority straight. I am straight but have never had a reason to go around throwing it everyone’s face. Check yourself before you try to check others.

  4. GC says:

    “But it is also very clear that you’re gay and you have a problem coming out.”

    How exactly is it clear that I’m gay? Or that I’d have a problem coming out if I were? You claim you have “no problems with homosexuality”, yet you’re perfectly happy to label someone who supports the right of professional athletes to come out….a closet case. You don’t have to be Dr. Marvin Monroe to see that you’ve got some real issues.

    “As for having my priority straight. I am straight but have never had a reason to go around throwing it everyone’s face” (sic)

    Why would you have a reason to? In what line of work would you lose your job for being a heterosexual? In what community would you or your family be ostracized for being straight? How many people are bullied, taunted or murdered for being straight? In which state are heterosexuals denied the right to marry?

    And what really constitutes “throwing it in everyone’s face”? There’s openly gay people in so many other vocations that manage to excel in a team environment. A pro athlete saying, “I’m gay” would represent exactly, what type of threat?

    “Check yourself before you try to check others”

    Hey, you’re the one telling gay athletes that their fight for acceptance is tantamount to selfish grandstanding.

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