Archive for August, 2013|Monthly archive page

Sex, Politics and Sports

Busboys and Poets in the District featured a discussion with Dave Zirin, sports editor of The Nation, magazine and the first open trans NCAA athlete last night.  Kye Allums played basketball at George Washington University.

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In November 2010, he announced his trans status. A very animated speaker, Allums said he took the step because other players on the team would not come out about their relationships. He had enough of that so he decided to make it easier on the other players by starting the coming out process.

Zirin and Allums discussed LGBTQ issues in sports and Zirin’s newest book, Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down. Zirin has written about politics and sport team owners, noting the tax breaks and subsidies that they receive for new stadiums from the public treasuries. He has also documented the political stances many of team owners have taken, ranging from George Steinbrenner and his contribution excesses to the Christian conservative values of the owners of the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball and the Orlando Magic of the NBA.

Last night, Zirin offered a good summary of the connections between masculinity, heterosexuality and being proficient in sports. Starting with Muscular Christianity and eugenics in the late 19th century, through the arguments against lesbians coming out in college basketball, American culture has promoted the social good of the supposed connections between gender norms, sexual norms, and playing, or in women’s case, not playing sports.

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Gay and NBA

First Brooklyn Nets, then the Detroit Pistons have declined the services of the first openly gay active player in one of the big four sports in the US. Jason Collins is looking for a roster spot in the NBA and has come up empty.

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The Detroit Pistons have reportedly become the latest NBA team to pass on signing recently out big man Jason Collins, according to SI.com’s Franz Lidz, the writer who co-authored Collins’ coming-out piece in SI earlier this year.

In deciding not to add Collins, Detroit joins the Brooklyn Nets on the short list of teams to publicly consider the idea of signing the veteran reserve before deciding against it.

There seems to be a growing sense that Collins won’t be on an NBA roster when the season opens this fall, and for most 34-year-old journeymen who have outlived their on-court usefulness, that wouldn’t be an issue. But in Collins’ case, the prospect of him not playing this season could be a dangerous one for the league and its teams.

Dealing with how to handle an active, openly gay player is uncharted territory for every team in the Association, and fair or not, Collins’ status as an out player with diminishing skills only complicates the matter.

DC Preservation League Video

Douglas Development has owned the Uline Arena/Washington Coliseum for years, using it as a parking lot until the time for development was right. With the NOMA corridor development springing up all around the former arena on M St and First St, NE, the time appears to be good now.

The company submitted a proposal for the arena. I’ve noticed the arena while riding the Metro Red line for years. My friend and I decided to write a book about Washington, DC Professional Basketball that includes the 1940s, when the Washington Capitols played at Uline and the 1969-1970 season when the Washington Capitols played in the ABA at the Washington Coliseum.

The Bullets, the Wizards, and Washington, DC, Basketball flyer_rev

This morning Raphael Mazzone and I discussed the basketball and social and cultural history of the building for the crew that are creating the video for the DC Preservation League. I’m standing in front of the old concession stand.

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This was the press box.

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Some of the remaining seating.

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