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Freeman Cebu Sports

Gays and Sports

ALLEZ - ALLEZ By Jose Vicente Araneta -
While racism has taken giant steps forward in the US, the issue of homosexuality has not. Homosexuality in the office, in school, in the military and in sports is an issue that most Americans feel queasy to talk about. I am writing about homosexuality and sports, the former a very sensitive topic, because John Amaechi, a Brit who played for 5 years in the NBA for the Magic, Cav's and Jazz until 2003, came out last week to say that he was gay. He was the 6th pro athlete to admit it.

One important point to remember is that all of these pros came out only after they retired, the reason being that they feared of being ridiculed, rejected and bodily harmed. Yes, bodily harmed. You see, the pro athlete is the epitome of what a tough, alpha male is and to be oriented differently is like a fish in dry land. Gays are seen as soft creatures and in the testosterone-rich world of contact sports like the NBA and the NFL, it would be a suicide to say so. And that's where the problem begins since no one wants to play with a "soft" teammate. Therefore, gays are forced to hide their sexuality and the angst that goes with living a lie. "With teammates, you have to be trustworthy and if you're gay and not admitting that you are, then you're not trustworthy." That's alpha male LeBron James talking.

I don't know if a study has been made about this homosexuality in local sports, but it is my opinion that gay athletes are not ridiculed, rejected and bodily harmed by teammates, fans and the public. On the contrary, talented gay athletes are highly respected individuals just like any straight college jock especially in volleyball, dancesports and badminton. They only get ridiculed and harassed when they start to act anything outside of the sport. The same thing is also true in the US, according to a Sports Illustrated survey about gays in sports.

However, playing beside gays is a different story as in the NBA and in the PBA. A current PBA player said that he wouldn't want to play with and against a gay basketball player. He says the camaraderie wouldn't be the same with them in the team. And camaraderie and trust comes from the same tray. I'm sure that most pro athletes are not ignorant but because this topic is rarely brought up, most are un-enlightened about it.

To say that all PBA players, the only paid jocks in the country, are all straight is to say that you know what tomorrow brings. The rumor mill has been churning out stories since I can remember that certain PBA players are gay but none have came out to say it. (I remember Francis Arnaiz wasn't spared of this rumor.)

But how would the mainstream public react to "an already out" gay, professional basketball player? Would they boo? Would they embrace him? Would they reject the product a gay player would endorse? Would they come see him play?

What is obvious is that most gays don't do contact sports. Maybe they feel uncomfortably conscious getting into contact with the other players or maybe they know that some people don't like to have contact with them or maybe they simply just don't like the violent contacts. Or maybe I don't know.

But what I know is that homosexuality has never been an issue in local sports especially in college sports where you can see most of them. The high flying, the hard hitting gays that play volleyball are a sight to behold and take the sport to another level.

Me, I don't think I'd have a problem watching gay athletes play or working and playing with them. What they do with their own time is not my business as long as they do the job they're supposed to do. Unfortunately, not everybody agrees with me on that.

This article won't end the debate about topic but I hope that we will all come to realize that we belong to the same planet and that we better start to learn to live with each other, straight or not.

Bike for You

As have been written here last week by Nimrod Quinones, the bike4u ride went without a hitch. The guys behind this organization, Jens Funk, together with Boying Rodriguez, Jacs Jacalan, Roy Zapata, Wally Ong and the rest, deserves a pat in the back for a job well done. Bike4u has just given 110 bike to deserving students at CITE and that is only just a start. If you want to know how to make a difference in the lives of these kids, please visit the website, "www.bike4u.org".

Email: [email protected]

BOYING RODRIGUEZ

FRANCIS ARNAIZ

GAY

JACS JACALAN

JENS FUNK

JOHN AMAECHI

NIMROD QUINONES

ROY ZAPATA

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