Editorial: Taking the good from the bad

Homosexuality and sports, when not mutually exclusive, create a combination many athletes try to tiptoe around unless it hits them right in the face.

Recently, former Jazz center John Amaechi told the world he is gay. What ensued was an eye-opening social commentary that took hold of all things “sports” and refused to let go.

At first, athletes danced around their actual thoughts, but when it finally sunk in that even the guy showering next to them in the locker room could be homosexual, some athletes started crying foul.

“As long as you don’t bring your gayness on me, I’m fine,” said Philadelphia 76ers’ Shavlik Randolph.

“You know, I hate gay people, so let it be known,” said retired Miami Heat guard Tim Hardaway. He later apologized, but the damage was done.

It’s embarrassing to read these comments and know that people actually feel this way. It is as though Randolph feels that homosexuality is some sort of contagious disease, and Hardaway comes across as a bigot.

It is absurd that in a supposedly progressive society, people can be so backward that when a person decides to be open about who he or she is, they are shunned. Are we supposed to look up to athletes who take part in such behavior?

In response to Hardaway’s statement, Amaechi was quoted in the Miami Herald, saying, “It is ridiculous, absurd, petty, bigoted and shows a lack of empathy that is gargantuan and unfathomable. But it’s honest. And it illustrates the problem better than any of the fuzzy language other people have used so far.”

Really, Amaechi is the only admirable person in this situation. His response to the negative comments made about him was classy, and it illustrated the kind of person that everyone should be trying to be: accepting.

Furthermore, Amaechi is correct in assessing the negative comments as an illustration of what is wrong in our society. It is sad, but Hardaway’s opinions are likely common and boil to the surface when news like Amaechi’s is announced. Then, when the dust settles, everything is forgotten until the event recurs with new faces.

It is true; unacceptable comments like these should not be tolerated. But instead of jumping to condemn people like Hardaway, we should follow the example of Amaechi — a man who took a positive approach to a negative situation.

At an institution like the U, which is less visible than the National Basketball Association, there are also destructive attitudes that we need to address before a media event necessitates it.