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Arizona Cardinals Video Director Rob Brakel Comes Out As Gay

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Rob Brakel, video director for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, said the response has been overwhelmingly positive since he came out publicly as gay this week.

"Reception has been unreal," Brakel told Towleroad. "Couple players that know were awesome. The head coach, GM, and our owner Michael (Bidwill) have been nothing short of AMAZING. They have my back and are happy for me." 
 
But Brakel, who came out Wednesday in an interview with OutSports before the Cardinals' game against the St. Louis Rams on Thursday, also said that for him, the decision hasn't really sunk in yet.  
 
"Busy with game last night, flying back, went to bed at 4am and just woke up to phone going crazy," he told Towleroad on Friday. "I do need a few more hours of sleep but I have to get to work soon. In time I think it will be great for me." 
 
The Cardinals defeated the Rams and are atop the NFC at 11-3, adding to what Brakel called "the biggest year for me." 
 
Brakel, a 17-year veteran of NFL video crews, told OutSports he was inspired to come out publicly while reading gay MLS player Robbie Rogers'' book, "Coming Out To Play," on the team plane Wednesday. OutSports reports: 

"I don't care anymore," Brakel said from his hotel room, the shaking coming through his voice over the phone. "Everyone around me knows who I am. I'm a guy who will give the shirt off his back to help you. I'll do whatever I can to help people. And I've had enough." ... 

As Brakel read the book, the rest of the Cardinals filed past him on the plane. He knew some might look down and see his choice of reading material, but he didn't care. Not only was he engrossed in the story, many of them already knew or suspected he was gay.

Those who've known Brakel was gay include Cardinals head coach Bruce Ariens, to whom Brakel came out at the NFL combine as Michael Sam made his NFL debut earlier this year. And those who've suspected include star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who did "the gay math" on Brakel. 

Brakel acknowledged it's tough being gay around the NFL, and he's thought about quitting at times.

A Twitter search for "gay" and "Cardinals" over the last few days shows exactly Brakel and others are up against — and why it's so important for them to come out.


Phoenix and Tucson Stage Major Protests Against Anti-Gay Bill: VIDEO

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Major protests took place this evening in Phoenix and Tucson in opposition to the bill passed by the Arizona legislature that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians based on religious beliefs.

CNN's AC360 led off their show live from the protests in Phoenix.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Governor Jan Brewer must decide whether to sign or veto the legislation early next week.

The Republic reports:

The governor, who is attending a conference of national governors in the nation’s capital, rarely comments on bills before they reach her desk.

She spoke with CNN on Friday: “Well, it’s a very controversial piece of legislation. We know that. We know that it’s failed in a lot of states across the country. ... I’ve been reading about it on the Internet and I will make my decision some time before ... by next Friday ... if I do decide to sign it. But it’s very controversial, so I’ve got to get my hands around it.”

The governor has five days to decide on the bill so it's likely she'll need to deal with it before Friday as she says.

FYI you can call Brewer now  at (602) 542-4331 or (520) 628-6580 and urge her to veto the bill.

Suggested script: Hi, my name is __________ and I live in _____________. I’m calling to urge Governor Brewer to veto SB1062. Arizonans believe in freedom for all -- and that includes our gay and lesbian neighbors. Please reject this harmful legislation.

Continue reading "Phoenix and Tucson Stage Major Protests Against Anti-Gay Bill: VIDEO" »


Gay Intern Who Saved Gabby Gifford Hit with Homophobic Recall Campaign

HernandezDaniel Hernandez Jr, the intern credited with helping save Rep. Gabrielle Giffords life after she was shot in 2011, is facing an anti-gay recall campaign aimed at removing him from the Tucson-area school board on which he serves, Right Wing Watch reports:

The story behind the recall is the kind of byzantine saga found only in local politics. Four of the five members of the Sunnyside Unified School District, which includes parts of Tucson and surrounding areas, are now facing recall petitions – two members who faced recall for their support of an embattled schools superintendent turned around and filed recall petitions on two members who opposed the superintendent, including Hernandez.

But the tactics being used against Hernandez are unusual. A source in the district sends us two flyers that Hernandez’s opponents are reportedly handing out to parents dropping their children off at schools in the district.

One of the flyers attacks Hernandez's sexuality, reading: “Put a REAL Man on the Sunnyside Board...Daniel Hernandez is LGBT...We need someone who will support Sports and cares about our kids. We don’t need someone who hates our values.”

The other claims that “Daniel Hernandez cares about only one things taking your guns away”. See that flyer, and the rest of the story over at Right Wing Watch.


Adam Smith, Harasser of Chick-Fil-A Employee, Apologizes: VIDEO

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Yesterday, Andy reported on the firing of Adam Smith -- the avowedly, loudly heterosexual Tucson man whose video of himself berating a Chick-fil-A employee went viral this week. It seems Mr. Smith reported to work the day after posting his video and learned that his employer, the medical supply company Vante, had been pelted with hate mail and angry phone messages in the night. Smith was first instructed not to post any further videos, and then he was canned. Having been canned, he was able to post more videos, and did.

AFTER THE JUMP, check out Smith's apparently very heartfelt, post-canning apology to the young minimum-wage employee whom he nearly brought to tears ...

Continue reading "Adam Smith, Harasser of Chick-Fil-A Employee, Apologizes: VIDEO" »


Jared Loughner Unfit to Stand Trial for Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Jared Loughner, the man who shot Gabrielle Giffords, killed six others, and injured 13 more in Tucson on January 8 is not competent to stand trial according to a federal judge.

Loughner The Arizona Daily Star reports:

A psychologist and psychiatrist both found Loughner unable to help in his own defense or understand the proceedings.

Doctors say he is schizophrenic.

U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns said doctors report Loughner is unable to help with his defense because of his irrational distrust of lawyers.

Loughner was ordered out of the courtroom earlier in the day following an outburst:

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns had Jared Lee Loughner escorted from the courtroom after Loughner lowered his head and said what sounded like: "Thank you for the freak show. She died in front of me." His head was inches from the table in front of him.

Loughner is to be hospitalized for up to four months to see if he can be restored to competency.


Gay Tucson Hero Daniel Hernandez to Sit with Michelle Obama at Tuesday's State of the Union Address

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Daniel Hernandez (seen here embracing Mark Kelly, the husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords), the intern credited with helping save Giffords life after the Tucson shooting, will be seated with First Lady Michelle Obama at Tuesday's State of the Union address, ABC News reports.

Said Hernandez: "I'm both honored and excited to have the opportunity to travel to our nation's Capitol for a once in a lifetime event. Also the chance to bring my father along for his first trip to Washington, D.C. The State of the Union is a pivotal moment because it is our opportunity to find where we are and where we will be going as a nation in this upcoming year."

Tuesday is also Hernandez's 21st birthday.


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