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Canadian Sports Network Takes Engaging Look At Homophobia In Sports: VIDEO


Canadian Sports Network TSN recently did a three part series on homophobia in sports titled “ReOrientation: The Culture of Casual Homophobia.” Former NHL player turned broadcaster Aaron Ward runs the series and interviews openly gay athletes like Robbie Rogers and former NFL player Esera Tuaolo along with allies such as Chris Kluwe and NHL players Dustin Brown and Ben Scrivens. Ward also spoke to Patrick Burke, founder of the You Can Play Project, who coined the term, “casual homophobia.” Said Scrivens of the way in which homophobic slurs are jocularly passed around the locker room,

“I don't see that it just comes out, that people have no control over what they're saying. But at the same time you get into a group where you've acted the same way around this group for, you know, your entire adult life essentially and you know it's not just, you’re not going cold turkey on this stuff as much as we’d like it to you—things are getting better I mean—”

“It’s going to take time,” Brown interjects.

“It’s going to take time,” Scrivens agrees.

Ward points out the difficulty he had in getting hockey players to speak candidly about this issue: 

“We struggled to get participation from players. Over a nine month period we reached out to 12 different National Hockey League teams. Could not get cooperation. It was a struggle to get guys to sit down be comfortable and honest in front of the camera. Now what you see is obviously easy to sit down and read words for a PSA. It's an absolute other thing to sit down to be honest and in-depth and clear about how you feel about this process and this issue in its own right so it’s almost a barometer of where we are today.”

Watch all three episodes of the series AFTER THE JUMP…


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  1. I am getting sick and tired of these "homophobia in sports" stories. For Pete's sake, if you really hated homophobia in sports, you would not stay in the closet while you're playing it. Most of these "out" players only came out after they left the sport, and thus I have no respect for them.

    Posted by: sam | Jan 26, 2014 6:38:11 PM

  2. @Sam, I agree that too often players come out when it's 'safe' to do so, but I think that highlights the problem within sports that players fear either damaging their careers or 'betraying' their fans. Of course one would hope that they would have more courage and I don't think they can really make excuses for why they didn't come out, but it is helpful to understand why they didn't at the time. If nothing else, to make sports more accommodating to gay players.

    I also think it varies by sport too...

    Team sports are the last bastion of homophobia if you ask me (at least for gay men) while there have been several out lesbian tennis players, golfers and soccer players, we still have yet to see a high profile male athlete come out.

    Posted by: Vera | Jan 26, 2014 6:45:00 PM

  3. Women get special and favorable treatment in society. Therefore, as lesbians are women, lesbians get special treatment.

    This is why homophobia is as much a gender issue as it is a homophobia issue. There is a stronger undercurrent of discrimination against homosexual men than there is against homosexual women.

    Women benefit from this double standard. In any discussion of homophobia in sports, the emphasis should be on the gender issue as much as it is on the actual homosexuality issue.

    Posted by: sam | Jan 26, 2014 7:23:45 PM

  4. This series was great to see and succeeded in underlining some very important (and too often neglected) points about the way casual homophobia in the locker room is damaging to teammates and team morale.

    I do wish they had interviewed a few more gay players (John Amaechi, Jason Collins, etc.)
    They also could have followed up the repeated referals to Tim Hardaway's homophobia by showing his evolution. Once gay relatives explained to him the damage of his comments, he aplogized publicly, worked for the Trevor Project, became a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage in Florida and took publicity photos holding a rainbow flag.

    That kind of follow-through would show that bringing teammates' attention to the problem of homophobia is not just an abstract concept but the source of many former homophobes' evolution.

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 26, 2014 7:44:08 PM

  5. Unf. Robbie's eyes. I came.

    Put away your sock puppets and go back to bed, Rick.

    Posted by: FFS | Jan 26, 2014 7:45:07 PM

  6. "Most of these "out" players only came out after they left the sport, and thus I have no respect for them."

    @Jason: It's easy for you to demand, from the anonymity of your keyboard, that OTHER people come out and risk losing a lucrative career.
    Some commenters here are fully out, using their full name which links to a webpage identifying them. If you're not willing to come out here (where no tabloid media firestorm is going to follow you if you do), how can you disrespect someone who chooses to wait until he's retired to come out and try to change minds in pro sports?

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 26, 2014 7:52:40 PM

  7. GregV is a sock puppet for Little Kiwi.

    Posted by: Flummoxed | Jan 26, 2014 10:07:24 PM

  8. Nice series. Esera Tuaolo's interview was heartbreaking. But one thing I don't get is how all of these reports are hung up on the locker room and especially the showers-- they were shown with pornographic drama in this piece. I was a NCAA Division 1/Ivy League varsity athlete, and I go to gyms in major metropolitan areas. All of the straight men in all of those locker rooms have showered with me, a gay guy. I never got an erection, I never did anything inappropriate-- so what's the big hang-up. Every athlete ever has showered with a gay guy, whether he knows it or not. Can the media (gay and straight) stop fetishizing the showers? I feel like it sort of debases the conversation.

    Posted by: Wil | Jan 26, 2014 10:15:38 PM

  9. The Living Room Mysteries (
    “Coming-Out” Narrative Archetype

    As a genre, the coming- out narrative archetype provides a classic forum for the debate of Masculine and Feminine Values.

    Coming-out storyline is about survival, making good on potential, as much as personal enlightenment and wholeness with the self.

    In the story the Masculine Gay Man sifts through his cultures’ definition of what makes a man a masculine, and what makes a man a “queer,””faggot”, “fairy”, “femme”

    Deeply affected and inspired by his Feminine Gay Lover, the Masculine Gay Man invariably ends up rebelliously fighting against the abusive attitudes of Anti-Femininity.

    All this arrives towards an absolution regarding the wholeness of masculine and feminine values.

    In this narrative archetype, Feminine and Masculine heroes do approach the status of comrades-in-arms. At the same time, they are both initiator and initiated in terms of merging within their union.

    Posted by: I'm layla miller i know stuff | Jan 26, 2014 10:57:17 PM

  10. I like these pictures of Robbie Rogers. In early photos I had seen of him, I thought he just kinda looked like a pretty boy. In these photos you can see, that although he is handsome, there is a toughness about him.

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 27, 2014 12:53:07 AM

  11. Unfortunately, uneasiness in the shower is one of the primary reasons guys don't come out and why straight players are uncomfortable with the issue. The fact these videos make clear, guys are still uncomfortable with the issue. Progress has occurred but players are uncomfortable. It's important to hear the reasons why and reasons behind the continued barriers, even if they are offensive.

    Posted by: Francis | Jan 27, 2014 1:32:39 AM

  12. Sam said: "Therefore, as lesbians are women, lesbians get special treatment."

    No Sam, lesbians are not woman, and also gays are not men.

    Posted by: TheSeer | Jan 27, 2014 8:20:49 AM

  13. It's a great series, and I have a feeling it's going to do a lot of good - for gay and straight people.

    Not everyone has the strength and courage to be a vanguard - in fact it does seem that there are a great many men who continue to sit and wait for "someone else" to represent them, as they have no intention of standing up to be counted and representing themselves or their supposed "type" - reality being, of course, if everybody waits for somebody else to do it, nobody ever ends up doing it.

    Yes, Come Out in your own time when you're ready. And while working on getting yourself "ready" - but in these dialogues there's a lot of talk of "you don't know how hard it is for them, you don't know what they have to lose."

    Well, I'd suggest remembering the millions of other young LGBT people - those of us who for varying reasons couldn't hide or "pass" the way that others can, and have, and continue to.

    It was one of those things that was thrown at me when I was first coming out: "it was easy for you, everyone knew you were gay."

    Yeah. It was totally easy being the neighbourhood f@ggot by age 8. Totally easy. It was easy as pie being a young kid who couldn't "pass for straight" until he, I, adopted a completele set of behavioral and physical affectations in order to get through middle and early-highschool. But something happens to guys and gals like me - we take our lumps early, and hard, and get not just a thick skin but a sense of resilience. We come out, because we're sick of playing a game to appease people who, frankly, shouln't matter, and in the long run *don't*.

    If you want to change the way the world sees gay people, you need to come out; to anyone and everyone. If you're not yet ready to do that, you're in no place to complain about "the way gay people are seen"

    Join the front lines. It's what separates the men from the boys.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 27, 2014 12:28:56 PM

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