Two Game Suspension for “Stay Closeted” Remarks

2 Jun

So it’s been a while since my lost post but I’m back with a promise to get the ball rolling again, and today I am going to be talking about balls…

Nope, not those kind of balls, because this post is actually going to explore the realm of sports, focusing on anti-gay remarks made by athletes.

Even with this hair, I'm super macho.

In recent news, famous Australian “footballer” Jason Akermanis has been the subject of heated controversy after he published an article in the Herald Sun telling gay athletes to stay in the closet. Akermanis’ main argument in his article surrounds his own discomfort in the locker room.

Locker room nudity is an everyday part of our lives and unlike any other work place. I believe it would cause discomfort in that environment should someone declare himself gay. I have played with a gay player…who was happy to admit his sexual persuasion. He was a great guy who played his heart out and was respected by everyone in the team. The only time I noticed a difference was when I was showering with 10 other players after a good win and I turned around to see all 10 heading out in a second with their towels. Sure enough, our gay teammate had wandered in. For some reason I felt uncomfortable, so I left. I am sure most players these days would do the same.

Since publishing the article, Akermanis has received a lot of harsh criticism, including from many Australian Football League officials, and has even had his car and home pelted with eggs.

Akermanis states that he is indeed  not homophobic, and even attempts to empathize in his article with the struggle of being a gay male, and in this respect he almost seems earnest.  Overall, it seems to me that Akermanis is not in fact another raging homophobic athlete but instead is a guy that needs to just get over himself and his “discomfort.”

Sure the locker room is a haven of naked men horsing around, but it’s a known fact  that even most straight men these days  have a look at their fellow teammates’ physiques. If a gay athlete were on a professional team, I say so what? On the surface, the worst crime this athlete would commit would be to check out his fellow teammates, and besides for perhaps a differing mindset of “Oh, I love his abs” instead of a “Oh, which one of us has tighter abs?” is there really such a contrast in the acts?

No homo

Sure, there are plenty of stories of seedy men who hook up in locker rooms, but in those cases both parties are looking for sex. If you’re a straight guy looking to stay straight, I think you’re safe. And somehow, I don’t think such activities would trickle up to the locker rooms of professional athletes.

Akermanis has since been suspended from playing in two games, which is all fine and dandy but won’t really accomplish much.  The bottom line is that straight athletes need to get over their discomforts and realize that having an openly gay teammate really isn’t any different.

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One Response to “Two Game Suspension for “Stay Closeted” Remarks”

  1. sophisms June 2, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    I think you’re right on target with saying that he probably isn’t homophobic but just another straight guy who needs to get over his own “ick” factor. Part of the problem is that straight guys have, I think, essentially been taught that their discomfort is not only legitimate but valid enough that entire groups of people (e.g. gay athletes) should have to adjust their behavior and their identities to accommodate it. There’s not a lot of institutional “JUST GET OVER IT” directed at straight men, especially in these types of hyper-macho environments (sports! the armed forces!).

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