In the good old days, I could assume most athletes were heterosexual. The athletes took the field for their sport (My favorite sport from the good old days was baseball…the Cincinnati Reds of the 1970s to be particular); they played their best (Despite criticism he has received for some bad decisions, Pete Rose was quite a player. Not very good at reality shows, but a very good player.), and they went home or their hotel after the game. I didn’t have the internet to research every aspect of their lives, so I just assumed they had what was considered a “normal” life. (As an adult, “normal” has a more complicated definition than I used to realize.)
Now, due to political encouragement and what seems at times a “dare” to treat anybody different despite information they have chose to reveal, we are greeted weekly (or more often) by an athlete (or celebrity or politician or someone within our own families) who needs to tell us they are homosexual. Of course, we live in America. People have the right to tell me and/or the world anything they want. They can go to NFL pre-draft events and criticize reporters for asking questions about whether their homosexual admission will affect them in the draft. They can try and guilt anyone in the audience into thinking they are a bad person if they don’t want to shed a tear because this athlete is so brave. The athlete can again dare any NFL team not to consider him because of his off field activities.
Although I have very strong personal feelings about heterosexual or homosexual, I think there are other reasons not to consider this athlete (or any athlete who wants to dare/guilt/challenge a team not to actively seek him. I will list a couple:
- An athlete who feels compelled to point out his homosexuality prior to the draft has an agenda. He could use it to negotiate a higher salary. He could use it to “blind” the coaches to possible flaws he may have as a member of the team. I would be very surprised if this particular athlete didn’t reveal this without contacting an attorney first.
- Whoever drafts him, won’t be able to cut him. They won’t be cutting a “regular” athlete; they will be cutting a gay athlete. And, even though gay athlete are not in a protected class, the present political climate seems to give them more time with a megaphone than a regular athlete who does not reveal with whom he shares a bed.
What am I saying? When it comes to someone’s sexual preference, I am content being naive. I will let my conservative Midwestern values assign everyone to the “heterosexual” category. If I don’t ask you or if your political office or church membership does not give me a reason to know certain intimate details of your life, I don’t want to know. I am not a stalker. If you are an athlete and promise to always “leave it on the field”, I promise not to do an internet search on you. I will not go to any online resources to intentionally seek your marital status. I will not check which party you make political contributions to. I want to watch a competitor who plays his best even when he knows his team will not be going to the post-season. I assume ALL athlete want this too!
If an athlete wants to tell me ANYTHING that doesn’t pertain to his sport, I absolutely have a right to use that information to define the kind of person I think he is. And, as long as I am given the ability to judge character, I will continue to do it he old fashion way – one observation at a time.