Apparently Homophobia Is Football’s Fault Now?

Okay, it’s time to talk about something fun, exciting, and not-at-all contentious: gay marriage! Okay, everybody stake out your positions, here’s your feces to fling at the other side, let’s go.

Ricky Williams Mike Ditka
(It’s not like the NFL’s stayed clear of this issue, people; they’re practically pioneers.)

Okay, let’s not act like this is the proper forum for discussing gay rights; clearly it isn’t, and we’d prefer not to discuss any of those issues unless it’s the only two good-looking members of the WNBA totally going at it right at center court during a game. But while we prefer not to mix this touchy subject in with our sports, clearly, THE NATION has no such qualms. Oh boy.

In their latest column, titled “Can the NFL Tackle Homophobia?”, the magazine finds two NFLers to speak out in favor of gay marriage, which is kind of like Emeril Lagasse issuing opinions on climate change. To boot:

Baltimore Ravens three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo came out for full marriage equality, writing in the HUFFINGTON POST:

Looking at the former restrictions on human rights in our country starting with slavery, women not being able to vote, blacks being counted as two thirds of a human, segregation, no gays in the military (to list a few) all have gone by the wayside. But now here in 2009 same sex marriages are prohibited. I think we will look back in 10, 20, 30 years and be amazed that gays and lesbians did not have the same rights as every one else.

Scott Fujita, defensive captain of the New Orleans Saints, supports Ayanbadejo’s stance. “I hope he’s right in his prediction, and I hope even more that it doesn’t take that long. People could look at this issue without blinders on…the blinders imposed by their church, their parents, their friends or, in our case, their coaches and locker rooms. I wish they would realize that it’s not a religion issue. It’s not a government issue. It’s not even a gay/straight issue or a question of your manhood. It’s a human issue.”

These are obviously bold stances, and there are equally bold stances on the other side of the argument; it’s just that those other bold stances are more firmly entrenched in football’s society.

But they’re entrenched in all societies of the major American team sports, not just football, and not for the reasons the article comes to list (hint: they manage to deftly weave in attacks on American imperialism, racism, and religion). It’s far simpler.

It’s because straight men are naturally wired to abhor sexual contact from other men*, and gay men aren’t. That’s not to say that letting someone who’s gay, whether “in” or “out,” into your locker room is a recipe for rapey disaster; despite homophobic men’s fears, that never happens.

Further, the homophobic anger at gay marriage is often misplaced; if the gay agenda was “make it so all men have to do other men in the pooper,” then yes, some righteous pushback is in order. Pause. But it’s just about getting married, so what it has to do with the locker room is, shall we say, unclear. Also, earth to athletes: you’ve probably already shared a locker room with a gay dude and didn’t realize it. Your butt’s safe.

So the question that we’re getting at is, why does it matter what football players think about gay marriage either way? Aren’t there more important people worth getting a consensus from? Maybe, oh, just about anybody but football players? We get where they’re coming from either way, we just don’t know why they’re qualified to comment on the issue.

*Note: women don’t share this natural aversion, which is why five girl drinks into the night, they’re making out with whoever. TMYK!