In the last couple of months we've had the New York Rangers' Sean Avery speaking out and even lobbying state legislators to get the same-sex marriage bill passed in New York. He's spoken on gay issues in the past and continues to do so even after the marriage victory in New York. Avery is one of those obnoxious, edgy, nasty hockey players that everyone hates, unless he's on their team. And the fact that he plays for the Rangers, still a major rival of the Flyers even though they haven't been all that successful since their last Stanley Cup win in 1994, makes it worse. But in the world of pro sports, speaking out on LGBT equality is, while not as rare as it used to be, still rather controversial.
This week, our attention focuses on NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin, who played his entire career with the NFL's Evil Empire, the Dallas Cowboys. Obviously he was a talented player, but also unlikable, a loudmouth who got into trouble off the field (suspended after arrested on drug charges, both by the NFL during his playing career and by ESPN after he became a broadcaster). But he, too, has spoken out on LGBT issues recently, and now he's on the cover of Out magazine. In the accompanying story (written by Cyd Zeigler of Outsports), he speaks about his late brother, who was gay, and how he also supports full marriage equality and wants the NFL to be supportive when the day arrives that an active player comes out.
Two disliked players from hated rivals, now doing great stuff to help gay people. As you can imagine, I'm a little conflicted. I'm not comfortable with Sean Avery and Michael Irvin giving me reasons to actually, you know, like them.
But I'm also disappointed, because while these opponents are doing these things, what do I have, representing my teams, the teams I love and passionately root for?
DeSean Jackson. And silence.
The Eagles' wide receiver
appeared on a show on a Sirius/XM hip-hop radio station a couple of weeks ago, taking calls from the audience, when a question from one "Troy in Tennessee" offended him:
Troy asks if DeSean's "had his dick knocked in the dirt [indecipherable]," before the call ends. According to the invaluable Urban Dictionary, knocking one's dick in the dirt entails knocking someone down or out—maybe even giving someone a concussion?
Jackson replies, "What type of question is that? Say 'no homo', gay-ass. Faggot."
Uh, yeah. When the story broke late last week (including audio, available at the Deadspin link above) Jackson defiantly (and in his typically borderline illiterate writing style) replied on Twitter...
Since then, those tweets were removed and one of those phony "apology" statements was issued, undoubtedly dictated by his slimy agent Drew Rosenhaus.
A few months ago, Jackson was on ABC's "The View" to support a 13-year-old boy who was a bullying victim. The boy was beaten, hung upside down from a tree and then hung by his coat on a fence. Now Jackson's the one who's the bully. The NFL and Eagles haven't responded, because the lockout is still dragging on and no contact between the team/league and players is permitted. But once it ends, something needs to happen.
borderline irrational. Now, I'm the one with the problem. It's easy enough to root against players on other teams when they act like douchebags. It's a different story when it's someone on your team. If the Eagles don't take some steps, and if DeSean Jackson doesn't convince me in some way that he's sincere in his apology, I don't see how I can be happy if he does well and the Eagles win.
Speaking of bullying, three major league baseball teams -- the Cubs, Giants (defending World Series champs) and Red Sox (another team we Just. Don't. Like.) have filmed It Gets Better videos. Two or three more teams have announced plans to do so.
The Phillies, so far, can't seem to be bothered. Even with a petition at Change.org with nearly 2,000 signatures (similar petitions have led to the videos already made by teams), they have yet to respond. Perhaps they should read their Twitter feed. I've posted to it a few times asking them to make such a video. Perhaps the news media, instead of just interviewing the man behind the petition, could actually ask the Phillies for a response. (Then again, the Daily News has virtually ignored the DeSean Jackson controversy. My guess is he may be one of their Sexy Singles later this month.)
asking the Flyers to make an It Gets Better video. It doesn't have much love, though: only 109 signed so far. Considering that the Flyers employ Patrick Burke, Brendan's brother, you would think a "Flyers: It Gets Better" video would be a natural. So far, though, nothing.
As for the 76ers, well, they're kinda busy being sold. Plus the NBA is also in a lockout, and that one isn't anywhere near a settlement.