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Former Baseball Player Wants Gay Players To Spare His Feelings


In an op-ed that suggests he hasn't given much thought to the meaning of the words "discrimination," "prejudice," or "ignorance," former Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Mark Knudson (seen in this trading card, which can be made larger for more effect) argues that gay sportsmen should stay in the closet to spare homophobes the horror of being uncomfortable. 

KNUDSONNo one has said that gays should not be allowed to play in the NFL. What has been said is that having a gay teammate would make some players uncomfortable. That's about their feelings. Feelings aren't right or wrong; they're just feelings. It’s telling someone their feelings are wrong that’s the real wrong.

So what's being debated here is not actual discrimination, but rather hurt feelings. Just because [retired out football player Esera Tuaolo] felt uncomfortable about his homosexuality inside a machismo-filled, heterosexual-dominated locker room does not mean he was denied any opportunities. In fact, he endured emotionally and has profited handsomely by taking full advantage of his talents and opportunities.

It's also important to consider that the heterosexual players involved have feelings, too, and they’'e no more or less valid than the feelings of those in the gay community. It's amazing how many people feel free to criticize and tell athletes how they are supposed to feel, as if that’s anyone else's right.

And here I thought the right-wing's "thought police" argument had been retired. And that Kenny Powers was just a fictional caricature from Eastbound & Down.

In all seriousness, though, this is not a surprising sentiment from a former baseball player: of all the major sports, it's America's pastime that remains the most opposed to marriage equality.

(Incredibly well-timed cartoon via The New Yorker.)

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  1. Poor widdle baby! Askert of the 'mos. Doesn't say much for 'sportsmanship'. Jeebus.

    Posted by: Geoff | Mar 2, 2013 5:12:34 PM

  2. @Oliver. I see 21 of them:

    Posted by: chris | Mar 2, 2013 5:33:56 PM

  3. A straight locker room is a dangerous environment? Didn't you learn that in high school. Gays are 10% and 100% hated in some environments.

    Posted by: Josh | Mar 2, 2013 6:40:21 PM

  4. Its a job. Who you sleep with should not be an issue. Im an HR diector. i am not allowed to ask an applicant wht their sexualy preference is. Bottom line.

    Posted by: Warren | Mar 2, 2013 6:40:34 PM

  5. In other words, keep the fags out of professional sports. Why can't bigots be succinct?

    Posted by: Jim | Mar 2, 2013 7:14:12 PM

  6. It is my sense that there are probably very few closeted professional football, basketball and baseball players in team sports. I think closeted gay high school students, feeling a sense of there difference, tend to avoid team sports. The closeted gay teen would probably gravitate toward more individualized sports like Track & Field, Tennis, Swimming, Gymnastics, Wrestling etc.

    Posted by: andrew | Mar 2, 2013 7:35:09 PM

  7. What a bigoted pile of crap. From his article: "the PC police in the media have been quick to blast the NFL as the “last bastion of Neanderthal thinking left in the world”.

    With this article Mark Knudson has proven that he's a proud representative of that thinking. Dear Mark Knudson, you're welcome to join the rest of us here in the 21st century.

    Posted by: Peter M. | Mar 2, 2013 8:16:10 PM

  8. Who else thinks that Chris Kluwe should respond to this trogolydte?

    Posted by: Peter M. | Mar 2, 2013 8:21:31 PM

  9. Straight guys look at each others' dicks! That won't change with gay men in the locker room.

    Posted by: Billy Crytical | Mar 2, 2013 8:42:23 PM

  10. He's basically right. Let's not pretend that gay men would keep their eyes to themselves in the locker room if they thought the naked guy in front of him was "hot" and heaven forbid what kind of shenanigans would happen if 2 gay men are in the locker room at the same time. I agree with JJ. We don't let men and women share changing rooms for basically the same reasons. I've been in gym locker rooms before and have witnessed gay pervs loitering around for hours, just hanging out, staring out of the side of their eyes and not closing their shower curtains all the way. It's obvious what they're doing but it's not "PC" to call them on it and the gay community would cry foul.

    It's probably too much to ask that gay players just NOT use the locker room, so it would be better if they just stayed out of professional team sports.

    Posted by: Anthony | Mar 2, 2013 8:43:09 PM

  11. He uses the old homophobic idea that gay can not control their sexual urges and just the sight of some hot young jock will lead to rape in the showers!

    Posted by: jaragon | Mar 2, 2013 8:45:36 PM

  12. @Anthony: My perspective and personal experiences are very different from yours. I am gay and was a Radar Operator on a Navy Destroyer for 3 years. I showered in a very small head (shower room) with mostly straight and a couple gay guys all the time and there never was a problem. Never!

    Posted by: andrew | Mar 2, 2013 9:11:49 PM

  13. The comments on the original article are priceless.

    Posted by: GDW | Mar 2, 2013 10:10:40 PM

  14. So, carrying this argument to its most absurd conclusion, uncircumcised men should not be made uncomfortable by having to share a locker room with circumcised men due to the fear that the uncircumcised guys might be forced to cut you know what off.

    It is kind of like a story of Middle Eastern origin: A woman brought her young son to a Mullah's school and said, "he behaves very badly and I want you to frighten him." The Mullah assumed a threatening pose, jumped up and down, and suddenly ran out of the building. The woman fainted. When she came to, she waited for the Mullah, who returned slowly and gravely. She said, "I asked you to frighten the boy, not me." The Mulla replied, "Dear Madam, did you not see how afraid I was of myself as well? When danger threatens, it threatens all alike."

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 2, 2013 10:52:55 PM

  15. @Anthony Let's not pretend that you aren't a homophobe. So gay men should give up their dream of playing professional team sports because little Anthony doesn't feel comfortable around gay men? Please, do us all a favor and grow up, thank you!

    Posted by: Peter M. | Mar 3, 2013 6:16:24 AM

  16. Gay men have been coexisting with straight men for hundreds of years in locker rooms, gyms, swimming pools, and lots of other close quarters. How many incidents do you hear of gays sexually forcing straight men? Now how many incidents an HOUR ... Every single hour of the day do we hear about STRAIGHT men sexually forcing women, both gay and straight women, to sexual assault? Some straight men have nerve to talk.
    These homophobes want to now practice segregation and be applauded for their bigotry.

    Posted by: Martin | Mar 3, 2013 6:19:26 AM

  17. Here's my thing. Have any of you been to a straight bar accompanied by a female friend? I have on numerous occasions and quite honestly, I'm *shocked* more women don't carry mace. Or a weapon on them. Straight men aren't just forward when it comes to women in social settings, from my many experiences, many straight men feel ENTITLED to touch, grab and harass any women they feel. Talk to the females in your life and see what they have to go through. I think some straight men are just projecting their own perversions on gay men. They need to iron out their own issues before schooling us.

    Posted by: Real Talk | Mar 3, 2013 6:23:16 AM

  18. Anthony And JJ are the same two trolls on here with different handles. Study their writing style, it's the same exact writing style of the resident homophobic poster. They lurk every thread, post a homophobic comment while changing their screename. Same poster, different day.

    Recognize the trolls, call them out, then keep it moving

    Until Towleroad goes to mandatory login to post, the troll is gonna troll, but it's our job to make him recognize we're on to his foolishness

    Posted by: Michelle | Mar 3, 2013 6:31:22 AM

  19. It's nice to read a self-centered, ignorant piece like that and then see how the author got totally slammed in the comments. Is he maybe a little bit out of touch?

    Posted by: Hunter | Mar 3, 2013 7:13:36 AM

  20. He looks like he is looking for paying speaking-gigs at certain churches....

    Posted by: Alan Brickman | Mar 3, 2013 9:13:20 AM

  21. Guess what, Mr. Baseball, knowing that straight white males --all laden with testosterone-- are driving cars on the roads I'm driving on makes me feel uncomfortable. So please, straight guys, refrain from driving.

    Posted by: Dan Cobb | Mar 3, 2013 11:32:36 AM

  22. @UUFDA While I understand what you are saying about people having innate differences, but I don't know what is the larger point you are trying to make, and how it relates to the discussion here.

    Posted by: MichaelJ | Mar 3, 2013 2:20:07 PM

  23. Knudson' observation that you can't blame people for their feelings is irrelevant as an argument that gay players need to stay in the closet. How does he propose to deal with the feelings of straight players who find it offensive that their teammates have to stay in the closet because of the prejudices of others?

    Even if the feelings of the homophobe and the homo are equally valid as feelings, it is wrong to have any situation where one can't exist with the same rights as the other. If the homophobe is allowed to play sports without having to hide in the closet about his or her sexuality, so should the homo. And if the homo (who for argument's sake is a self-respecting homo who has not internalized whatever homophobia he of she has been exposed to) is expected (for the good of the team) to accept that his teammates have different feelings about homosexuality but still work with them as a professional, respecting their ability to play, so too should the homophobe.

    In addition to plain homophobia and/or the heterosexual presumption that only heterosexuality is natural, I would bet people like Knudson are afraid that if gay people were allowed to play openly and earn respect for their abilities, there would be fewer homophobes than they presume and over time the feelings of many homophobes would lessen. People like Knudson are afraid of their feelings being invalidated.

    Posted by: MichaelJ | Mar 3, 2013 2:49:50 PM

  24. exactly, MichaelJ.

    it's actually really similar to the way that society's remaining racist bigots refuse to "give up" their bigotry.

    the more racists are called out on their B.S. the more upset they get.

    the worthless parent who is angry that their children and community see them for the racist scum that they are, rather than , y'know, getting with the times and curbing their bigotry.

    misery bigot party - dwindling in numbers and not happy about it.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 3, 2013 2:56:26 PM

  25. Hey JJ,

    Bankable professional teams don't have separate changing rooms for women.

    Having said that, I find the whole locker room thing to be a little jock sniffy. Ini every other form of entertainment, when you start making the real money you get more privacy. If I were making a ton of money for playing a child's game, I wouldn't expect to have to share a locker room with anyone I wouldn't share my bed with and certainly not with cameramen and reporters. In the age of microcameras, I'm surprised this is still the situation.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Mar 3, 2013 11:44:41 PM

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