As more and more folks come out as LGBT, we’re still waiting for that big gay shoe to drop in professional sports. And while we have some LGBT allies in the professional sports arena—Brendan Ayanbadejo, Chris Kluwe and Scott Fujita come to mind right off the bat—there are some who don’t like the idea of an openly gay teammate, on the field, or in the locker room.
One such person is Mark , a former Major League Baseball player for the Houston , the Milwaukee Brewers and the Colorado Rockies, His career ended almost twenty years ago, but he’s decided to pen an op-ed piece about The Gays and Professional Sports. He doesn’t seem like he’s particularly anti-gay, I guess, but he doesn’t want The Gays in sports because, you know, that would make homophobes uncomfortable.
And, well, he says that isn't discrimination. Seriously, he believes telling gay folks that since their orientation may make some folks uncomfortable, we should just stay in the closet. Makes one think Knudson may have been hit in the head with a baseball a time or two, no?
At any rate, in his piece--written for Mile High Sports [read the entire piece HERE] he talks Manti Te'o, who may, or may not, be gay, and he talks Esera Tuaolo, a professional football player who came out publicly after restring and told about the difficulties of being gay in professional sports. But he still sees no discrimination, so let's review a bit of Knudson, in his own words:
No one has said that gays should not be allowed to play in the NFL. What has been said is that having a gay teammate would make some players uncomfortable. That's about their feelings. Feelings aren't right or wrong; they're just feelings. It’s telling someone their feelings are wrong that’s the real wrong.
So what's being debated here is not actual discrimination, but rather hurt feelings. Just because [retired out football player Esera Tuaolo] felt uncomfortable about his homosexuality inside a machismo-filled, heterosexual-dominated locker room does not mean he was denied any opportunities. In fact, he endured emotionally and has profited handsomely by taking full advantage of his talents and opportunities.
It's also important to consider that the heterosexual players involved have feelings, too, and they’re no more or less valid than the feelings of those in the gay community. It's amazing how many people feel free to criticize and tell athletes how they are supposed to feel, as if that’s anyone else's right.
I mean what if I was a white man living in 1960s Alabama and I felt uncomfortable having a Black man sit beside me on the bus? Does that give me the right to ask that all Black people sit at the back?
What is seeing an obese person chowing down in a restaurant bothers me? Can I ask management to remove them so I no longer feel that discomfort?
It seems to me that Mark Knudson thinks that if something, or someone, or something about someone, makes you uncomfortable, well, they should just hide that fact, if they can, or get out of the way.
But that's not discrimination, not in Mark Knudson's playbook.