Gay stereotypes in sports needs to stop
Sadly, another professional athlete has made a highly offensive set of remarks about gay men that reek of homophobia. In case you haven’t heard, former NBA star, Amar’e Stoudemire, is the one who popped his mouth off.
When a reporter asked him if he would have a “problem” showering with a gay teammate, the basketball player, who currently plays overseas in Israel, replied by saying:
“I’ll shower across the street … make sure my change of clothes are around the corner … and take a different route to the gym.”
Later, Mr. Stoudemire stated that his comments were meant only to be a “joke,” however, they weren’t funny to begin with.
Not even a little.
Let’s face it. Gay men have been stereotyped in the way Mr. Stoudemire “joked” about for years. There’s nothing hysterical about suggesting a man wants to violate your physical space, simply because of sexual orientation.
These kinds of comments smack of toxic masculinity and only serve to reinforce harmful perceptions, fueled by insecurities that are deeply engrained in professional sports.
“The answers I gave were meant to be taken as jokes & I am deeply sorry for offending anyone,” said Mr. Stoudemire after his ignorant comments went public.
He then added
“I am open to creating a dialogue to assist the fight the LGBT community encounters daily and will continue to focus on playing basketball.”
Sorry? IF I OFFENDED? Get real!
His comments did nothing but reinforce a false narrative about gay men being sexual predators who want to grab, rape and sexually assault straight guys who are in close proximity to one another like showers.
FYI: This was the same stupid stereotype that was used for decades to keep “the gays” out of the military.
The sick part of Mr. Stoudemire’s “joke” assumes that just because he identifies as straight, all gay men “must” want him and his genitals.
We have news for this basketball player and other hetero men who hold these kinds of thoughts:
Just because you are straight does not mean gay men want you. Get over yourself.
Yes – he apologized for his reckless words. But honestly, we can’t allow sports professionals to make these kinds of remarks anymore.
It’s just too harmful to LGBT youth who are bullied, harassed and “othered” on a regular basis. Worse, “jokes” have a way of acting as an invisible permission slip to engage in hate.
Professional athletes need to understand that their words MATTER. They shape public sentiment in powerful ways. This is particularly true if they happen to be a player in the spotlight.
For the record, this wasn’t the only time Stoudemire has made an anti-gay comment. Back in 2012, while playing or the New York Knicks, he was fined $50,000 for calling a fan on Twitter a “faggot”.
To this this day, his gay slur was used to demonize gay and bisexual men and create a dynamic where straight players were perceived superior to “gay” peers.
That’s why here at the blog, we have a very hard time believing this athlete’s most recent apology. In fact, they ring hollow and empty.
Here’s the reality of the here and now.
We are living in a time where we desperately want and need more LGBT athletes in professional sports. In recent years, there’s been much progress on this front.
But we have a long way to go.
Amar’e Stoudemire’s hate speech only sets us back.