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Thread: Homosexuality, baseball's biggest taboo

  1. #1
    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Homosexuality, baseball's biggest taboo

    http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sports/8052962.htm

    DAN LE BATARD

    dlebatard@herald.com

    JUPITER -- The champion Marlins are stitched together tightly, not unlike the baseball around which they bond. The potential barriers, of religion and politics and language, all get toppled in the name of team and triumph.

    So there is first baseman Hee Seop Choi, bowing politely upon meeting new Marlins teammates with whom he can't really speak. And there is big-bellied Armando Benitez, all Latin machismo, tossing a tin of Copenhagen across the clubhouse to Kid Rock-ian A.J. Burnett, with whom he has zero in common beyond an ability to throw a baseball very hard. And there is jovial Dontrelle Willis, going from locker to locker, making his way in and out of the white, black and Hispanic clubhouse cliques with laughter and hugs and enough wattage to light a stadium.

    But what if one of them were gay?

    Would this still be the tightest, most fun clubhouse in baseball?

    ''What it would be,'' Marlins pitcher Brad Penny says, ``is very uncomfortable in here.''

    The caveman culture of sports, allowing adults to remain adolescents for a living, is not yet one of tolerance, enlightenment or understanding -- nor will it be anytime soon. You will find more homophobia per square foot in a professional sports locker room than you will find just about anywhere else in America outside of a Klan meeting, ''faggot'' remaining the most common and searing of slurs. So while homosexuality makes that arduous walk toward America's altars, more mainstream than ever from South Beach to San Francisco, found amid the laughter on prime-time television, you still won't find it anywhere near here, in the locker room where being a felon, rapist or cheat remains preferable to being gay.

    ''I wouldn't have a problem with it, but some people in here would,'' Marlins reliever Tim Spooneybarger says. ``This is a very personal work environment. Very intimate. Not many lawyers get together after work and shower with 30 other lawyers.''

    CRUSADER NEEDED

    It is very hard for one of today's athletes to become Muhammad Ali or Jackie Robinson, to have that kind of cultural impact from the sports section, but this is the final uncrossed horizon in sports. It's an odd and amazing thing to say in 2004, the year a 14-year-old female played among male golfers and a transsexual has entered an Australian golf tournament for females, but there has never been an active athlete in major American sports to announce he or she is gay.

    FINAL BARRIER

    Swimming? Tennis? Golf? Sure. But those are loner sports that don't require harmony, reliance, teammates. It gets appreciably more difficult to come out of the closet when it will turn the guy dressing next to you, in your colors, into the opponent, too. And there hasn't been anybody with the conviction to risk unemployment, physical harm and ostracizing in the name of this cause.

    So pity poor Kazuhito Tadano this season. He's a young Cleveland Indians pitcher who starred in a gay pornographic movie three years ago. Shunned by Japanese baseball, he held an awkward press conference recently to announce he isn't gay but made the movie because he needed the money to get through college. His only solace is that, because of the language barrier, he might not understand some of the awful words about to come his way.

    Asked once how he would react to a gay teammate, Atlanta outfielder Andruw Jones said he would begin with a simple, ''What the hell is wrong with you?'' That's about the kindest of what awaits the gay athlete with the courage to be today's Ali, today's Robinson, wherever he might be hiding, afraid to come out.
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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  3. #2
    Oy Vey! Red in Chicago's Avatar
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    why are most men so afraid of a gay man showering with them? do they think that he's going to attack them or get aroused in the shower? somehow, i doubt that they would. maybe they're afraid they won't "measure up"

    i can guarantee every guy has "sneaked a peak" at another guy in the shower or at the urinal, without anyone being converted to homosexuality.

    some people of so closed minded.

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    The thing that gets me is that most of the players are so verbal about their disdain for homosexuals. They are proud of their bigotry and close mindedness. Somehow they perceive themselves as being so much above the issue they don't even attempt an open discourse.

    If even one player reported he was open to sharing the clubhouse with a gay player it would be a big deal and a huge step forward. It's pathetic the sharing would be that big of a deal.

    The US military has to teach baseball how to handle these type of situations....baseball can never lead the way ...they have to wait for the most backward institution in the world (military) to show them how to get things done.

  5. #4
    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    If there were an openly gay employee of an MLB team who regularly had contact with players, it would be a slam-dunk of a lawsuit for that employee to claim that the sport or the organization condoned an atmosphere of hostility and win a corresponding claim of sexual harassment. If this article doesn't convince the Commish that it's time for some league-wide sensitivity training, I don't know what will.
    /r/reds

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    Why are so many people openly rooting for a gay baseball player to come out of the closet? Are they hoping for a "Gay Jackie Robinson" so we can eliminate the Gay Leagues? Who friggin' cares.

  7. #6
    Passion for the game Team Clark's Avatar
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    Sneakin' a peek eh? I thought that was you!!! Not so bad yourself!
    It's absolutely pathetic that people can't have an opinion from actually watching games and supplementing that with stats. If you voice an opinion that doesn't fit into a black/white box you will get completely misrepresented and basically called a tobacco chewing traditionalist...
    Cedric 3/24/08

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    Member paulrichjr's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Red in Chicago
    why are most men so afraid of a gay man showering with them? do they think that he's going to attack them or get aroused in the shower? somehow, i doubt that they would. maybe they're afraid they won't "measure up"

    i can guarantee every guy has "sneaked a peak" at another guy in the shower or at the urinal, without anyone being converted to homosexuality.

    some people of so closed minded.
    SO if a gay guys calls you up and wants to take a shower with you for the next 162 days you would be OK with this? Look I am not homophobic are what ever the "Hollywood" elite want to push down the throat and call people who don't agree with this lifestyle. In fact growing up, my parents allowed a homosexual to live in our house (because his burnt down) and right now an "in the closet with the public" homosexual is in the same office as I am. There are only 4 offices in the very small office and we are very good friends.

    However, I would not want to take a shower with any of these guys. This is closed minded? I am assuming you also believe that they are "born that way" and it is natural. It is deviant bahavior pure and simple and I myself would be very uncomfortable taking a shower with a homosexual. Friends with them no problem.... Taking my clothes off with them? No way.
    Tim McCarver: Baseball Quotes
    I remember one time going out to the mound to talk with Bob Gibson. He told me to get back behind the batter, that the only thing I knew about pitching was that it was hard to hit.

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    Member redsrule2500's Avatar
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    It could hurt the relations if someone is gay....very much so
    redsrule2500
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  10. #9
    Member Number_Fourteen's Avatar
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    However, I would not want to take a shower with any of these guys.
    I don't know about you, but I have no desire to shower with my straight friends either - or any guys for that matter; regardless of their sexual orientation. But, I don't believe this is the real issue. IMHO, the underlying concern of gays in the clubhouse is the perceived threat to the "old boy's club" environment, enjoyed throughout the locker rooms of America.

    Just as female, and minority hirings can vouch for in traditional white male bastions such as the fire & police departments throughout our country.

    That said, what this boils down to is discriminatory in nature, and threatens one's right to earn a gainful living, i.e. the pursuit of happiness. Is this a good thing? I think not.

    Personally, I'd hold a teammate of upstanding character who happens to be gay, in far higher esteem and respect, than some wife-beating dirtbag like Wil Cordero, and countless others who commit such heinous and reprehensible acts.

    Unfortunately, the notion of being gay and of upstanding moral character is still an oxymoron to many in our society.

    It boils down to stupidity, ignorance and homophobia, in the view of this non-PC straight white male. IMHO, if a man knows who and what he is, and is about, then his masculinity should not be so fragile.

    As Americans, we're able to choose our friends and those whom we pass time with outside of work. However, most of us are unable to control the people we work amongst, that is, unless we seek out employment elsewhere.

    Why should baseball players be any different?

  11. #10
    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Maybe they just feel it is wrong and unnatural behavior. I know I wouldn't want to have to get undressed in the same room and shower with a homosexual. Sorry if that offends some of you.
    Last edited by RANDY IN INDY; 02-28-2004 at 07:57 AM.
    Talent is God Given: be humble.
    Fame is man given: be thankful.
    Conceit is self given: be careful.

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  12. #11
    1990WorldChamps
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    I think Jeff Kent is gay. Mark my words....

  13. #12
    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Originally posted by 1990WorldChamps
    I think Jeff Kent is gay. Mark my words....
    Maybe that explains the mustache.

    If players are concerned about showering with a gay man, why don't they just install individual shower stalls in the clubhouse? I lived in a college dorm where the floor shared one set of showers. We had girls on our floor and even, gasp, homosexuals. The issue never came up because the showers had individual stalls. About the only thing we had to worry about was the constant threat of having a garbage can of cold water dumped on you by the resident practical jokers.
    Last edited by Yachtzee; 02-28-2004 at 09:29 AM.

  14. #13
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    I think some of you are missing the point here. The point isn't whether or not to allow gay players to play in the major leagues. Clearly there are and have been gay players in the majors and minors. The point is that gay players will not be open about their homosexuality because of the fear of their peers. You may not like to have them in the same locker room as you. But wouldn't you want to know if a teammate is gay? An that is the point he is trying to make. As long as there is a climate of fear and hatred towards them, gay players will remain in the closet. So you are going to never know if that player showering next to you is gay or straight.
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  15. #14
    Dunnilicious creek14's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RANDY IN CHAR NC
    I know I wouldn't want to have to get undressed in the same room and shower with a homosexual.
    Well I am sure if you have ever taken a shower after a gym class or at a health club, you already have.

    Why can't people just be secure about their own sexuality and not worry about others?
    Will trade this space for a #1 starter.

  16. #15
    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    I'm sure the comment will be some sort of joke, but seriously, would you want to have to take a shower in an open setting with a man or group of men who were ogling at your body, creek? Would you want your daughters or sons to share locker rooms and take showers with the opposite sex, just because they may be secure in their sexuality? If that is what you truly believe, is there really any difference? Imagine the uproar that would create. I'm pretty secure in my own sexuality, but that doesn't make me want to shower or get dressed with homosexuals, or members of the opposite sex, for that matter. (Before I was married, I wouldn't have agreed with the last part of that statement. )

    I guess I'm probably in the minority these days, and described as old fashioned, close minded, and homophobic, and that's all well and good, but some things are just not right. I refuse to live in a make believe world that says there are no rights and wrongs, where everything is just gray. I'm ok, you're ok, we're all ok. Can't believe it, and won't accept it.
    Talent is God Given: be humble.
    Fame is man given: be thankful.
    Conceit is self given: be careful.

    John Wooden


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