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August 17, 2008 1:31 AM

Openly gay Amaechi finds tension at Olympics

By Chris Tomasson

BEIJING _ There's a former NBA player who had a 6.2 career scoring average broadcasting from the Olympics.
Ordinarily, that wouldn't mean much. But that player's name is John Amaechi, who released the book "Man in the Middle,'' last year, becoming the first player who was at one time was associated with the NBA to come out as being gay.
Amaechi is at the Olympics, serving as a basketball analyst for his homeland Great Britain's BBC. His appearance has caught some in the NBA establishment by surprise.
"It's been tense to say the least,'' Amaechi said when I ran into him in a lunch line about what it's been like being seeing some Team USA players and coaches.
Amaechi said players have turned away from him, and there remains a "lot of tension.'' He mentioned seeing Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
"I ran into Kobe, and he was surprised to see me,'' Amaechi said. "It didn't go well.''
Ameachi, who played for Cleveland, Orlando and Utah in 1995-96 and from 1999-2003, has been writing about his experiences at the Olympics in his blog www.beijinglegacyblog.com.
"I had passed some of the coaches in the MPC (Main Press Center) the day before, catching only the trailing end a statement of the coach who saw me, "... isn't that Amaechi? What the hell is he doing (here),''' Amaechi writes in his blog. "I was a little irritated. I couldn't help but wonder if that was the way they would have reacted to another former NBA player they recognized passing shoulder to shoulder a world away. Even an average one.''




Discussion

  • August 17, 2008

    7:36 AM

    smokey16 writes:

    Sounds like the NBA is more like Tim Hardaway, than they like to publicize. Actions speak louder than words!

  • August 17, 2008

    10:16 AM

    Smack Adams writes:

    With all the seemingly bright guys on that team -- including several guys who appear to be rather sophisticated, albeit young -- that's terribly disappointing. They ought to be ashamed of themselves, adn I hope someone with a wider voice calls them on this and forces these man to examine their behavior with a critical eye.

  • August 17, 2008

    12:00 PM

    k writes:

    You lied to Kobe about your sexuality. I don't blame him if he dislikes you.

  • August 17, 2008

    2:26 PM

    John Tracy writes:

    Sounds more to me like John Amaechi is trying to create some interest in his being there. Why not go into specifics? What "didn't go well" with Kobe? Did he curse you out? Did he call you a name? Or did he simply ignore you like he would any other NBA journeyman from years ago that he probably didn't recognize anyway?

  • August 17, 2008

    4:42 PM

    oscar writes:

    we should also take into consideration that Amaechi was a mediocre player at best, and seemingly the only reason he has an Olympic gig is because of the media hype he created for himself when he came out. I'm sure alot of old guard NBA personel resents the fact that he used his brief tenure in the league to publicize the fact he is a homosexual.

    If John Amaechi had never written his book and appeared in ESPN the mag, he would never had landed a gig covering the olympics. Simple as that.

  • August 17, 2008

    6:49 PM

    Andrew writes:

    "I'm sure alot of old guard NBA personel resents the fact that he used his brief tenure in the league to publicize the fact he is a homosexual."

    Why? Is his sexual preference a reflection on the league? Of course not. So exactly why should the old guard resent that John Amaechi told others he is gay? Perhaps because a lot of the league resents being called on their BS by his book.

    "If John Amaechi had never written his book and appeared in ESPN the mag, he would never had landed a gig covering the olympics. Simple as that."

    You seem to be suggesting that Amaechi does not belong as a BBC broadcaster at the Olympics. Let's explore that idea. John is one of very few English citizens with NBA experience. John is erudite and intelligent and a fine speaker. John has name recognition.

    Which of these facts disqualifies him from commenting? Oh wait. Maybe some homophobic sports fans are afraid a homo might be able to tell them something about the game of basketball. Could that be the real problem?

    No one is asking Kobe Bryant or others to like John Amaechi. But acting like a homophobic boor does not reflect well on Kobe as an individual, the league or the country.

  • August 18, 2008

    12:11 AM

    oscar writes:

    in regard to the assumptions you made to my posts, I have not actually heard his coverage, so I guess there's no way I know if he's qualified enough. You got me there. But if he were as 'erudite' as you claim he is, he would have probably covered the last olympics for bbc, no?

    I could care less if John Amaechi is gay. But i re-iterate, just because he tells everyone he is gay, much less years after his last NBA game, it does not make him a basketball martyr.

    And in reference to your extreme assumption that Kobe is homophobic for blowing him off...im sure He's not the only media member who Kobe has had to ignore.

    I don't know why people think John Amaechi should be treated with compassion by sports and NBA enthusiasts just because he's gay. Lets be real, he wasn't very good as a pro basketball player, and in the end that's all that matters when it comes to player adoration.

    At least to me, and im sure there are others like me, I could care less what a person does in their free time. That's the good thing about our country. But it's irresponsible for Amaechi to put NBA personel and players under fire, creating more self publicity, just because they won't go out of their way to talk to him. I agree with John Tracy on that.

    You don't hear any stories of other media members or journalists complaining that they aren't getting full access.

  • August 18, 2008

    12:11 AM

    oscar writes:

    in regard to the assumptions you made to my posts, I have not actually heard his coverage, so I guess there's no way I know if he's qualified enough. You got me there. But if he were as 'erudite' as you claim he is, he would have probably covered the last olympics for bbc, no?

    I could care less if John Amaechi is gay. But i re-iterate, just because he tells everyone he is gay, much less years after his last NBA game, it does not make him a basketball martyr.

    And in reference to your extreme assumption that Kobe is homophobic for blowing him off...im sure He's not the only media member who Kobe has had to ignore.

    I don't know why people think John Amaechi should be treated with compassion by sports and NBA enthusiasts just because he's gay. Lets be real, he wasn't very good as a pro basketball player, and in the end that's all that matters when it comes to player adoration.

    At least to me, and im sure there are others like me, I could care less what a person does in their free time. That's the good thing about our country. But it's irresponsible for Amaechi to put NBA personel and players under fire, creating more self publicity, just because they won't go out of their way to talk to him. I agree with John Tracy on that.

    You don't hear any stories of other media members or journalists complaining that they aren't getting full access.

  • August 18, 2008

    8:05 AM

    Chris writes:

    I'm glad Kobe Bryant, rapist, sees fit to look down on Amaechi because he's gay. Makes a lot of sense.

  • August 18, 2008

    8:45 AM

    Randy Jurgensen writes:

    John has always wanted to make love to Kobe

  • August 18, 2008

    8:55 AM

    Nadum writes:

    This whole story just adds more hypocrisy to the NBA. AI doesn't get invited to the Olympics and Melo gets lambasted for a DUI while Kobe and Bron rock the red, white and blue.

    Can you imagine if AI or Melo tried to attack their mother in the stands? Or raped the girl that adjusts the hotel bathroom mat? They'd probably be playing for China right now they'd have been tossed from the NBA so fast.

    Meanwhile, Kobe isn't just a whining adulterer who may or may not rape women in his spare time and has a proclivity for crying. He's also homophobic. Nice...

  • August 18, 2008

    9:30 AM

    JoseOle writes:

    Well the black community in general rejects gays. All of my black friends, 3-4 will always go crazy if there is a gay guy around. They all reject them b/c they think that it is an affront to their masculinity if they are around. I can only assume the top of the mountain NBA players think they are manly men and gays threaten their comfort level.

  • August 18, 2008

    9:45 AM

    Ian writes:

    Oscar: we'll have to agree to disagree. John is a martyr. And I think "raging homophobia" is a reasonable initial guess about his meeting with Bryant. Read his book sometime. And I wouldn't characterize him as either bitter or grandstanding; maybe frustrated is a better word. His book made me a lifelong Andrei Kirilenko fan.

  • August 18, 2008

    9:59 AM

    jay writes:

    John Amaechi is a hack. He was a player who only played hard in contract years, was overpaid by the next club and had no heart.

    I wouldn't look to him for insight when it comes to calling a basketball game. He could barely rebound and couldn't hit a shot outside of two feet.

  • August 18, 2008

    11:15 AM

    Jordan writes:

    Like Jay has written above, Amaechi never played hard only in contract years. If you read his blog, he even says he can't stand watching sports for more than 20 minutes. Uh? What? How does this fact alone make him worthy of representing BBC? Crap, I'll watch sports 24/7 if I'm allowed to go to Beijing to watch the Olympics. That includes rowing, synchro swimming, whatever. I want to like John and support him, but I can't respect a man who never worked hard at his game playing in the NBA, doesn't work hard or appreciate the spectacular job he has now, and decided to come out several years after he had played. It's probably one of the hardest things to do, to come out, especially in a homophobic setting like the NBA. But it takes courage to be different and to make change. America makes it a little bit easier than most other countries. I mean, in California you can finally get married. I'm sorry, but I don't find Amaechi coming out far later and then writing a book about his experience all that courageous. I'm sure Kobe is a prick in real life, but, to throw him under the bus without explaining, can't get with that either.

  • August 18, 2008

    11:36 AM

    chris writes:

    John Amaechi should not get any special priveleges because he came out of the closet nor is it fair to ostricize him because he did. I think it is irresponsible of him to give a snipet of what happened between he and Kobe. How do we know that whatever happened between he a Kobe had to do with the fact that he came out of the closet. Unless Kobe said something specific how do we know why Kobe ignored him?

  • August 18, 2008

    11:39 AM

    jim writes:

    "but, to throw him under the bus without explaining, can't get with that either." come on jordan u know that throwing kobe's name gives more spices to the story its nothing new,because i am sure he got the same reaction from every one on the team from coach K to boozer..but singling out kobe's name like that is just a classic trend that the some media and and has ben losers like amaechi love to use to get attention .

    and regarding kobe being a prick , u have the right to think that but to be honest me and alot of my friends and ppl who walked into kobe in restaurants or any public place he has ben nothing but a great guy and extremely nice that was before and after the shaq era we talked laughed , not being a homer.. just telling the truth from what i saw

  • August 18, 2008

    12:45 PM

    James Show writes:

    I love how Amaechi talks about how there was a lot of "tension" when he saw the US Olympic Team.

    Come on, let's be serious here, do you think the USA Basketball Team really cares about a guy who averaged 6 points and 2.6 rebounds in his career. The dude played like 10 minutes a game!

    I also love how Amaechi is so vague about what happened between him and Kobe. "I ran into Kobe and he was surprised to see me", "It didn't go well".

    Let me tell you why he was surprised to see you John.

    1) You were a sorry basketball player, so you definitely weren't in Beijing to play basketball. That would be the equivalent of Kobe seeing someone like Kwamay Brown at the Olympics.

    2) You've never been a legitimate journalist. The only time your voice was ever really heard was when you came out of the closet with your sexuality.

    Let me tell you why it didn't go well with you John.

    1) Your desire for attention, affection, and acceptance from the US Team stems from your own insecurities of being openly gay. You're reading too much into this John... seriously... do you really think they care when they are trying to Redeem the Gold Medal. The US Team has enough pressure as is. They feel like they need to blow every team out by at least 20 or 30 and that if they don't win the Gold they will have failed their country and the whole world.

    Let me put it this way... do you think that if Bill Russel or Wilt Chamberlain (I know he's dead) came out of the closet that Team USA would not talk to them. Please... stop projecting your basis of reality and your "gay spin" into the world.

    John... no one cares.

  • August 18, 2008

    12:52 PM

    James Show writes:

    I also agree with Jim. That was a very cheap trick John to try to get some media hype/attention by attaching Kobe's name to the story.

    If Kobe really did something completely offensive you should have come out and stated the facts. Giving some stupid vague comment about how he was surprised to see you and it not going well only reveals that you were using a cheap journalistic trick of associating your name with his.

    Again John... no one cares. If you want to be a journalist then work hard at the craft of presentation and communication. Just work harder at that than you did at playing basketball. PLEASE!

  • August 18, 2008

    1:25 PM

    Jordan writes:

    Jim. Never met Kobe. But, he's by far my favorite player. Just didn't want to come across as a homer. Lol. He does seem to have matured a great deal over the past couple of years. I mean, it's hard enough trying to grow up as a teenager, but to try being the best at the greatest sport in the world at that age, while everyone around you (that's you Shaq) hated you. That's near impossible.

  • August 18, 2008

    1:37 PM

    yooga writes:

    haha thas great that the damn gay is being hated against. all f u c k i n g gays needa die

  • August 18, 2008

    1:58 PM

    riqq2 writes:

    WELL I WOULDN SPEAK TO HIM NIETHER TWO BIG A$$ HAIRY MEN HUGGING AND KISSING JUST AINT RIGHT HE KNEW HOW THEY WERE GOING TO ACT TOWARDS HIM THATS WHY HE DIDN COME OUT UNTIL HE LEFT THE NBA

  • August 18, 2008

    2:16 PM

    Anonymous writes:

    REAL TALK. This is byfar an imperfect world, people being individuals have their own way of dealing with things that are considered different. When a person comes out and make a dramatic statement, especially the way this was brought out they can't be nieve to think that there won't be some sort of repercussion. Every action is gonna get a reaction, and it just might not be the one you want. He wonder how they would have reactted to another player? Well He's not just another player. My OPINION get over it man, if you are completely happy their actions short of invading your space wouldn't, and shouldn't bother at all.

  • August 18, 2008

    2:22 PM

    Tim writes:

    I'm gonna co-sign on the disappointment with the vagueness of this story. Which, I think, is the fault of both Amaechi and this article's author, Chris Tomasson.

    What exactly does it mean to say that "things didn't go well" with Kobe?

    While it reads a little like Amaechi wants to be discreet so as not to cause harm to Kobe, it is far more curious than it is discreet. If he was going for genuine discretion, why utter that sentence at all?

    Either Tomasson left out the guts of this story (or never uncovered them in the first place) or Amaechi is trying to grab some attention for himself by pretending to favor discretion over full-blown controversy.

    This whole thing is really half-assed. And the comments are generally predictable and disappointing. No good has come of it.

  • August 18, 2008

    2:22 PM

    Coach Ruff writes:

    JOSEOLE- You black friends doesn't show or represent the opinions or actions of the Black Community.-REAL TALK.

  • August 18, 2008

    6:30 PM

    John writes:

    Hellooooo. The non-gay folks don't want a bunch of gay guys checking them out in the locker room. Gayness is distracting and should obviously be frowned upon in the world of sports.. Period. Duh. End of story.

  • August 18, 2008

    8:06 PM

    joejoejoe writes:

    How many former NBA players are British? It makes sense that the BBC would hire Englishman John Amaechi to call the Olympics. Amaechi's blog isn't the same as his work for BBC so it's a bit disingenous for people to suggest that Amaechi should leave "the gay" out of his commentary. I'm sure when he's on the air for BBC, he does.

  • August 19, 2008

    1:43 AM

    Glen Larson writes:

    Apparently it's not just the NBA that is rife with homophobia. I love the excuses by many of the posters of why they criticize Amaechi. Truth is, he was better than any poster here at basketball, and how good a player he is really should have no bearing on how he should be treated by other players. He even goes so far as to question how another average player, who wasn't openly gay, would be received in the same situation. I'm guessing a whole lot better.

    Oh, and using the excuse that Amaechi `lied' to Kobe about his sexuality, so Kobe has every right to be pissed, is pretty much lying to yourself.

    Anyone who is uncomfortable with gay men are obviously not completely comfortable with their sexuality. I am straight, but have absolutely no problem with gay people, and have many friends that are gay.

  • August 19, 2008

    4:47 AM

    Chrizz writes:

    Wait... John Ameachi is gay?

  • August 19, 2008

    9:48 AM

    Little Wolf writes:

    It's it nice to know that being a rapist is more accepting then being gay? If you really don't believe that just ask Kobe and Mike Tyson. I ask those that support these men with your dollars, by going to games and buying their merchandise, how do you look in the face of your wives, sister's and daughters? This includes women; it's not just all men that goes to these games.

  • August 19, 2008

    11:21 AM

    Paul writes:

    "I also agree with Jim. That was a very cheap trick John to try to get some media hype/attention by attaching Kobe's name to the story.

    If Kobe really did something completely offensive you should have come out and stated the facts. Giving some stupid vague comment about how he was surprised to see you and it not going well only reveals that you were using a cheap journalistic trick of associating your name with his.

    Again John... no one cares. If you want to be a journalist then work hard at the craft of presentation and communication. Just work harder at that than you did at playing basketball. PLEASE!"

    Awesome post, really nothing to add.


  • August 19, 2008

    2:40 PM

    Joesph Allan writes:

    John could not come out sooner or told Kobe he was gay. The other players would have shunned him. You all know that, it's like being a gay cop. legally, it is acceptable. But on court, in the locker room, these passive-aggressive men would have ostracized him, or made life so bad for him, he would have had to quit. THERE IS HOMOPHOBIA in sports.
    There are alot of MEDIOCRE straight -players out there also.
    There have been other players including KOBE who has made implicit homophobic comments off the court. this coming from a rapist, is like calling the pot black.
    The number of people on this site protecting Kobe and homophobia, or denying that it exists illustrates how pervasive it is.

  • August 19, 2008

    3:09 PM

    Joseph Hill writes:

    >>>>
    k writes:

    You lied to Kobe about your sexuality. I don't blame him if he dislikes you.
    >>>>>>>>

    Wait a minute.....I can't imagine that John ever "lied" to Kobe about his sexuality.

    Did Kobe come out and ask, "Hey, John...are you heterosexual or homosexual?" More likely, Kobe just ASSUMED that John was heterosexual; and John never denied it. Does that make John a liar? I don't think so.

    What is it with you people? On one hand you condemn this man for coming out of the closet...on the other hand you think he should be required to inform his teammates that he is gay, otherwise he's lying?

    Give it some honest thought. Gays are 'damned if they do' and 'damned if they don't' reveal who/what they are? Maybe after a little thought, you'll understand just a LITTLE bit more about how 'dangerous' it is--socially, professionally, emotionally, physically--to be gay in a world that gets so damned bent out of shape by the issue of sexual orientation.

    Of course, some people (and apparently more than just a few on this board) believe that anyone who is discovered/revealed to be homosexual deserves to be stoned to death. I think if a gay man is a bit reticent about announcing/revealing his sexual orientation under such circumstances it's understandable.

    BTW....do you suppose John ever asked Mr. Bryant, "Are you homosexual or heterosexual?" Would Bryant be "lying" if he didn't answer?

  • August 19, 2008

    3:33 PM

    Mark writes:

    John has been working in broadcasting in the UK since he retired, and became a familiar face to UK basketball fans years before he'd come out of the closet. He hosted a weekly television show on UK's channel 5, called "Sport on Five," with a round-up of the week's NBA games. He began appearing as a commentator on BBC well before coming out...

    Therefore, it's only natural that they'd select him to headline the BBC's basketball coverage.

    John Amaechi didn't use his media visibility in the US to get him an Olympic gig; he's simply got professional experience that qualifies him, both as a player and as a broadcaster.

  • August 19, 2008

    3:52 PM

    Mad Professah writes:

    8 years in the NBA is brief? Amaechi played on NBA yteams from 1995-2003. HOw long have you been in the NBA?

    I would like more details on what "didn't go well" when John Met Kobe.

  • August 19, 2008

    4:06 PM

    James Show writes:

    Thanks Paul.

    Let me address Joseph Allen first. Joseph, I gather that the main point of your edit was that we should somehow have compassion on John for being in a damned if he says it and damned if he doesn't kind of position.

    Ok. Point taken. He is in quite the predicament and for that reason I can empathize.

    However, you're still missing the point. We're not defending Kobe and homophobia. At least I'm not. By contrast, I am elucidating the flaws in John's character. Let me give you the facts as summarized from this forum.

    1) John was a mediocre basketball player.
    2) John hates basketball.
    3) John is known to be a very egocentric, egotistical person.

    My post was about the fact that John was so vague. He didn't come out with any facts about Kobe's actions besides some elusive/intangible comment about it "not going well". I agree with Tim. On the surface it seems as though he was trying to protect Kobe out of his discretion, but the point remains... why mention Kobe at all then?

    You seem to think that we don't think Homophobia exists in sports and in society. No one said that homophobia doesn't exist. I simply pointed out that there are many other reasons to avoid John Amaechi then the fact that he's gay. Again, to further my point... based on this elusive article (Thank you Chris Tomasson)... we still have NO IDEA what actually went on.

  • August 19, 2008

    4:31 PM

    James Show writes:

    Joseph.

    The problem with Amaechi (I'm sure to offend some people on this forum with this one) and the rest of the gay community is not so much that their gay. The problem has to do with how gay people handle their gayness. Let me explain.

    The gays that have come out of the closet seem to think that it's important for them to constantly remind everyone how gay they are.

    My point is... WHO CARES? If I'm in a room full of women and I constantly remind them about how heterosexual I am, believe me they will feel uncomfortable too. There are women who stay away from me simply because I'm a man and they are afraid of my possible advances.

    Do I then conclude that it must be because I'm heterosexual and they have heterophobia?

    Sexuality in itself has it's own complexities and I would say most people on a day to day basis don't interact or identify with others based on their sexual orientation. Gay people like straight people and transgender people should respect the idea of having sexual discretion and not go around writing books all the time about their preferences. Or better yet, not go around vaguely implying that everyone hates them because of their sexuality.

  • August 19, 2008

    5:29 PM

    Joseph Hill writes:

    James,

    I understand the point you were making in your first response to my post....and I find myself agreeing with it.

    Your second response, however, tells me that you still don't "get it". You needn't announce your heterosexuality, because somewhere around 90% of humans are "that way". I'm sure that your behavior around people of the opposite gender announces your wish to be considered heterosexual, as does your behavior around people of the same gender. You are absolutely free to pursue your apparent sexual interest without fear of being insulted, ostracized or attacked....which is as it should be....and as it should be for those who are gay or Lesbian

    It's common for those of a heterosexual orientation to ASSUME that everyone is "that way"...and 90% of the time they'll be right.

    Gays and Lesbians, however, have learned (growing up in a homophobic culture) that their attempts to connect with other members of their 10% minority geneerally need to be much more subtle
    in their pursuit of sexual/affectional partners. Perhaps you can see the different dynamics at play depending on one's sexual orientation.

    A Lesbian when hit-upon by a heterosexual male will simply convey that she isn't interested. In my experience, it is VERY rare for a Lesbian to to insult or physically attack a would-be suitor for propositioning her or for mistaking her sexual orientation. Some men (usually those who are very insecure) will take umbrage at being turned down; as often as not, these men will become...shall we say "discourteous"?

    A man who considers himself to be heterosexual, on the other hand is apt to go....shall we say "ballistic"? if approached by a gay man. So you see, it's best in social situations if someone is aware of other people's sexual proclivities...or is at least aware of the possibility that some members of any group might be of a different orientation. Then, fewer mistakes will be made and perhaps fewer ego's will be crushed and hopefully there will be less blood on the floor.

    What you seem to be saying is that homosexuals have to learn to compartmentalize their lives in order not to offend or scare heterosexuals. As I once heard an African-American man say, there is never a moment in his life when he isn't aware, on some level, that he is black.

    In a perfect world, or even in a better world, one's sexual orientation or race should not be a reason for discrimination or violence; but, sadly, we know this isn't true. Basically, the fault for this lies with a majority who are white and/or heterosexual.

    Homosexuality is NOT the problem...homophobia is; and for every person who tells me that they "couldn't care less" if someone is homosexual, or that "it's none of my business" what people do in bed, I just laugh and suggest that we wouldn't even be having this conversation if that were true. I've had to kick too many a**es of guys who simply panic at the idea that I'm gay or that I have presumed that THEY might be gay.

    So, let's get serious and stop tip-toeing around to convince people that no one cares about my sexual orientation...or their own.

  • August 19, 2008

    8:09 PM

    James Show writes:

    Joseph,
    If I can summarize the main idea behind your recent post, I would say that you are trying to communicate that we live in a fallen, predominantly heterosexual world, that is also predominantly homophobic which therefore creates an intimidating/adverse atmosphere for anyone who is homosexual and that such a world is one that I “don’t get?.
    Well, Joseph. I should have communicated this more in the last post. I do empathize and sympathize with Amaechi and any other men who are gay. You do live in a world that is predominantly against you. You are ostracized, you are attacked, and you are oftentimes insulted. I think we both agree that in a perfect or better world these things would not be but it is at it is.
    There are some points that you made however that I think you should re-think.
    The first point is that I as a heterosexual do not need to announce my sexuality. This is simply not true. If you don’t believe me ask any heterosexual male if he’s heard the let’s just be friends speech from a woman. (Let me decode that for you by the way. It means “I like you as a person but I am not sexually attracted to you?)
    So, you’re right in the sense that I don’t have to announce my sexuality to the world because they’ll assume I’m heterosexual… but I like you will also need to communicate that I’m sexually interested in someone and I’m open to just as much rejection, “ostracization?, and insult. This is not due to my orientation but due to me just being sexually interested. It’s the sexuality and sexual advance that causes the discomfort.
    So you make a point that you need to be much more subtle. My point is that we all need to be subtle when it comes to sexuality. This is why in every state jurisdiction in our country there are sexual harassment laws. The law recognizes that talk or conduct of a sexual nature in general can bring about an adverse work environment. This again, has nothing to do with sexual orientation but rather sexuality in general.
    This leads me then to address your point about compartmentalization. I think with all sincerity you need to rethink what exactly it is your are compartmentalizing. As a heterosexual I am frustrated with Amaechi because of his constant announcement that he is gay just as much as I am frustrated with someone like 50 Cent or Tommy Lee when they talk about sleeping around all the time. Again, you may not believe me… but I REALLY don’t care about Amaechi’s sexual preference. Certainly I’ll care if he makes a sexual advance at me. But believe me, if there was a woman that made a sexual advance at me that I wasn’t interested in, I would feel just as uncomfortable.
    So you see… it’s the constant reminder that you’re sexually active and you like men that is tiresome. For me, I’d rather spend time getting to know you as a person. You may say that you are sexual in nature and that constitutes your personality. If that’s the case, then you do need to compartmentalize that. For the sake of relationships that I may have with women, I need to “turn off? or “compartmentalize? my sexuality too.

  • August 19, 2008

    9:25 PM

    owenz writes:

    While I agree that Amaechi's exploitation of his homosexuality can be tiresome, I kind of doubt he is motivated by greed or the desire to self-promote that a lot of people seem willing to attribute to him. He probably believes he is helping other homosexuals by forcing people to talk about gay issues in the context of professional sports, which continue to be so homophobic that virtually no men from the four major sports have come out of the closet, despite widespread acceptance of gay people in the wider culture and plenty of statistical data that strongly suggests a significant percentage of male pro athletes are gay.

    Amaechi is no doubt aware that the constant reminders of his being gay are irritating to sports fans, even non-homophobic sports fans. I assume his motivation for continuing to annoy such people is rather simple: professional sports have been almost totally immune to the acceptance of homosexuality we see in so many other parts of our culture, and Amaechi sees the acceptance of homosexuals by the sports culture as an important goal that he is willing to pursue, even if many people hate him for it.

    Finally, a quick comment on the interesting dialogue going on between James and Joseph. James says: "I REALLY don’t care about Amaechi’s sexual preference. Certainly I’ll care if he makes a sexual advance at me. But believe me, if there was a woman that made a sexual advance at me that I wasn’t interested in, I would feel just as uncomfortable."

    I think this is a valid argument as far as it goes. But I suspect that Amaechi is not motivated by a desire to create a world in which gay men can announce their homosexuality on the basketball court and not get grief for it. Rather, I think Amaechi (and other gay men) fixate on the homophobia unique to "jock culture" because so many jocks rely on gay stereotypes to attack and challenge the manhood of opponents. Put another way: straight jocks don't just pick on gay men, they use the concept of gayness itself to attack and belittle other straight jocks, calling each other punks, faggots, etc. I'm not gay, but if I were, I think I would get pretty tired of guys using a core part of my identity as a school yard insult.

    So, when gay people talk about the "rampant homophobia" in sports, they aren't necessarily talking about straight athletes expressing discomfort about the idea a gay teammate. For most gay people, I think the bigger concern is that sports culture remains an area where their identity represents the biggest insult one straight guy can deliver to another.

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    Well, here's your answer. Male players are so insecure about their own sexuality, they can't let others be comfortable in their's.

    Sports is full of arrogant, egomaniacal,whoring homophobic, thug asses (hi Kobe) and they are let slide because they can shoot a basketball.
    It's pathetic. The whole league is pathetic.

    I love sports and have played my whole life, but stopped watching NBA games long ago.

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    John Amaechi is just another opportunistic, egocentric poser who feels the need to throw his sexual deviancy into our collective faces in order to assuage his guilt and self-loathing, and then has the temerity to whine about even the perceived slights that always come with that type of perverted celebrity status.

    Come on, John, try to be a man - if you can't stand the heat, then get back in your f*****g closet.

    (Insert bitch-slap here.)

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    Let's face it homophobia is throughout America, the black community included. The real truth is most blacks on black college campuses don't want to associated with gays in public but don't really have a problem with them on campus. Also the DL runs throught the black community. Ask any gay black man, ask me. The truth on any given day or night a certian percentage of straight black men, atheletes included, will or have gone there. 100% don't want anyone to know. Let's stop lying. Anyone who has been outed as DL can tell you they survive and even their women get over it. It's life. I'm sure Amaechi has never bent any NBA player over the chair in his hotel room by force, like you know who.

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