Thursday, February 08, 2007

it means a lot, yet not as much as we think.

How do we evaluate John Amaechi's coming out of the closet? He was a workman-like center, whom, when I saw him in games, was always referred to by the announcing team as a hustle guy, someone who did the little things while playing in the NBA. True Hoop, naturally, is all over this and its implications, and he thinks it is a certifiable Big Deal. The WWL got the Round Mound of Blackjack Throwdown to comment, and he said he'd played with gay guys and that the media was overplaying this.

It's definitely important to have this out there (pardon the pun.) Amaechi does not fit the stereotype of homosexual in sport, which leans heavily on machismo and occasionally on homophobia. But while his announcement and specials will probably result in some good debate, I'm not sure we'll see the real impact quite yet.

1) Amaechi's British nationality. There's always a lurking subtext that can influence response, like, "Of course the European is gay." It conflates homophobia and xenophobia.
2) He's retired. It will make more of an impact if someone comes out during their career.

I hope I'm wrong on the limiting factors, though.

An aside: it's very nice to see that an Orlando columnist felt the need to feed the "gay = pedophile" false dichotomy with Amaechi's community work while he played for the Magic.

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