I’m sure we all know by now the Super Bowl is the most publicized sporting event in the country. In the week leading up to the game it seems there is more media coverage at the Super Bowl than any two other major sporting event’s championships combined. Now I know this, and you know this. But it always seems like there’s a player or two who just can’t let the opportunity to say something stupid in front of dozens of writers and cameras slip by. This year, it was 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver.
When confronted with a question from comedian Artie Lange asking if there were any gays in the NFL or on the 49ers, Culliver missed the chance to side-step the question and instead took the opportunity to make himself into the media’s newest villain. Regarding gays on his team, Culliver responded with the following, well-thought out and intelligent reply:
“No, we don’t got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff.”
And with such a lucid, clever response, one has to wonder where the “dumb jock” stereotype even comes from.
However, I do have to give Culliver a little credit somewhere. For starters, he apologized for his comments (although I don’t feel he needed to apologize for being honest and saying how he really feels – he was just wrong to put it the way he did at the time he did). But I also have to give him credit for opening up discussion regarding gays playing major sports. The discussion has been had as to whether other major sports are ready for an openly gay athlete to make himself known…but not so much in golf.
So what do you think? Is the PGA Tour ready for one of its tour pros to come out? I have my opinion, which I will share in a moment. But in the meantime, how would you feel if a PGA player came out? What do you think the affect would be – positive or negative for the tour? How about the fans reaction overall – positive or negative? Or would simply no one care?
My opinion – Who cares? Honestly, I feel it’s no one’s business and I’d rather everyone just keep their sexual orientation to themselves. Why do I care if you’re gay or not? Just play the sport you’re playing. Keep your private life to yourself. I don’t need straight people to come out and tell me they’re straight. So what makes people feel that I need to know if they’re not? Does it make them any less or more of an athlete? Of course not. And since being a professional athlete is the only reason I know who these people are anyway, then let’s just keep it that way. Would it have some kind of affect on the tour? I don’t know. All I do know is it shouldn’t.
But thanks to Artie Lange and Chris Culliver, this ridiculous conversation that pops up every once in a while regarding gay athletes has been rehashed. What’s our fascination with it? Why do we care? Why do we feel we need to know? Why do we think it matters? We need to let it go and cheer on our favorite athletes for what they are – great athletes. We’re cheering for what they do on the playing field, not what they do in their private lives. Let’s learn to understand the difference.
Swing ’til you’re happy!