Archive for the ‘sex’ Category

Gays, NFL, Dogs Prevent Suicide

This is a really nice article containing a few of my favorite things: football, gays and dogs

Former NFL lineman Ryan O’Callaghan comes out in moving profile

Ryan O'Callaghan

Ryan O’Callaghan played for both the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. Jeff Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former NFL lineman Ryan O’Callaghan, who played for the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, has come out of the closet in a moving interview for Outsports.

O’Callaghan, who spent five years in the NFL, never expected to have a post-football life. He was deeply closeted, unable to imagine living as an openly gay man. Instead of coming out or continuing to live with the pain of life in the closet, he planned to commit suicide after he retired from the game.

“I wrote a letter,” he said. “I was close.”

“If it wasn’t for some good friends, a couple of good dogs, I’d be gone,” he added. “I’m just glad there were people that were looking out for me, pushing me in the right direction to actually get help.”

He also struggled with drug addiction.

“I was abusing painkillers, no question,” he said. “It helped with the pain of the injuries, and with the pain of being gay. I just didn’t worry about being gay when I took the Vicodin. I just didn’t worry.”

Ryan O'CallaghanRyan

Ryan O’Callaghan with his dogs.

He credits a small group of people within the Chiefs organization with helping lead him to a better place, including the team’s general manager, Scott Pioli. He reassured O’Callaghan that he still had Pioli’s support, who shared that he had many gay people in his life and had previously counseled other gay NFL players.

Related: These NFL teams just became the first to sponsor a pride celebration

O’Callaghan said he hopes his coming out will show others that it is safe for them to do so as well, including some more recognizable names.

A handful of NFL players have come out after retirement, including running back Dave Kopay, cornerback Wade Davis, defensive tackle Esera Tuaolo, guard Roy Simmons, offensive tackle Kwame Harris, and running back Ray McDonald.

Defensive end Michael Sam was drafted into the NFL, by the St. Louis Rams, as an openly gay man, but was cut before the season began.

O’Callaghan recalled growing up in Redding, California, in an environment where gay people were not readily accepted.

“If you’re a gay kid and you hear someone you love say ‘fag,’ it makes you think that in their eyes you’re just a fag too,” he said. “That got to me a lot.”

But when he went home to come out to his family, he was pleasantly surprised.

“All the people I was most concerned about were fine. It was so much easier and better than I ever imagined,” he recalled.

He said he thinks the NFL is ready for an openly gay player.

“I think teams are ready. Guys just have to understand he’s gay. It doesn’t mean he wants to date you, he just wants to be your teammate,” he said. “It’s not a big deal, it’s really not.”

Related: NFL documentary profiles closeted gay player

He added that he hopes his story will lead to “someone else much higher profile coming out.”

He said he is in a much better place since coming out.

“I’m having a great time. I love life now, I absolutely love life now.”

He went to school at California and played for four years in the NFL. His career is captured here: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/O/OCalRy20.htm

NBC, Olympics and Gays

NBC Sports Has A Gay Problem

What the what?

08/10/2016 02:09 pm ET

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

This article by Cyd Zeigler originally appeared on Outsports.

It’s been apparent for years.

When Australian diver Matthew Mitcham won gold in the 10-meter platform in Beijing, stopping a Chinese sweep of diving gold on the final dive of the sport’s final event, NBC Sports, the perennial broadcaster in the United States of the Olympic Games, failed to mention Mitcham’s partner in the stands despite highlighting the partners of other straight athletes. Even worse, the network failed to mention that Mitcham was the only publicly out gay-male athlete at the Games.

When called on it, NBC first argued that the network doesn’t discuss sexual orientation (despite the historic nature of Mitcham’s win) then offered a terse two-sentence “apology.

Eight years later, nothing has changed at NBC. The network failed to identify Dustin Lance Black in the audience of the men’s synchro diving finals as bronze-medalist Tom Daley’s fiancé. Not boyfriend, not long-time friend… fiancé. And an Oscar-winning fiancé at that (read: public interest). They are, arguably, the “it” couple of the gay community, yet NBC didn’t mention a word.

When NBC broadcast the match of Brazilian volleyball player Larissa França, they followed her to the stands where she embraced her wife. NBC commentator Chris Marlowe’s colorful commentary?

“That is her husband. She married Lili in 2013 and Larissa is celebrating with her pals.”

Her husband. You can’t write this shit. Yet NBC released no public apology, relying on a one-line statement from Marlowe.

At the U.S. Olympic diving trials, diver Jordan Windle was accompanied by his two dads.

“They wouldn’t say ‘Jordan’s dads’ during the finals of Olympic Trials,” Jerry Windle said. “They just said ‘parents.’ Then they wouldn’t show both Andre and I together like they showed other parents.”

Two years ago in Sochi, all of the NBC networks combined offered less than two hours of coverage of LGBT issues, including the new anti-gay law that had been implemented in Russia, during the 18 days of the Winter Olympics. There were mentions of the plight of Russian LGBT people during primetime coverage by NBC Sports, but according to HRC it diminished over time and was mostly pushed away from NBC Sports and onto MSNBC. According to HRC, during two of the Winter Olympic days ― 14 and 17 ― there was no coverage of the issue on any of NBC’s networks.

To be clear, this all goes well beyond the Olympics.

For the last few years NBC Sports has employed an avowed proud homophobe, Tony Dungy, as one of its lead NFL commentators. Dungy has raised money to oppose equality for gay people, has said he “disagrees” with Jason Collins being gay and, in a fit of hypocrisy, said he would not want openly gay NFL player Michael Sam on his team.

Of course the network also employs openly gay commentator Johnny Weir. It’s the one possible on-air feather in the network’s cap. Though Weir’s dress and manner leave some reducing him to the role of clown, it’s a role he welcomes and plays well while also offering some great figure skating commentary. His antics (while I appreciate them) leave many gay people wishing for less.

Still, it’s impossible to make the case that NBC Sports is sensitive to LGBT issues. While NBC has started NBC Out and has a robust NBC-Universal LGBT employee network, that is desperately lost on the coverage NBC provides sports.

While Dungy’s continued employment on NBC Sports’ cornerstone program is a slap in the face of the entire LGBT community, the subpar job the network has demonstrated covering LGBT athletes and issues at the Olympics over the years is downright inexcusable.

There are plenty of opportunities for NBC to recover. Ten days of LGBTI athletes competing and winning lie ahead. Will the network acknowledge their presence? Simply demonstrate the common courtesy to these athletes they show their straight counterparts?

Frankly, I doubt it. Their failure to properly address the Mitcham snub eight years ago, followed by transgression after transgression, shows very clearly that NBC Sports couldn’t care less about gay athletes or gay fans. Maybe ESPN can get in the running to broadcast future Olympics.

For more from OutSports, check out these stories:

Seattle Mariners tell lesbian couple to stop ‘being affectionate’

The first Olympic marriage proposal in Rio is between a rugby player and her girlfriend

Male Olympic gymnasts want to compete shirtless

Also on HuffPost

29 Truly Remarkable Olympic Photos

What’s Love Got to Do With It

Columnist Richard Cohen went to see the new movie Her and came away with a stronger impression of our cultural narcissism. Critics and sociologists and historians have talked about our cultural obsession with ourselves for 50 years. The 70s were the Me generation; great historian Christoper Lasch wrote The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations at the close of that decade.

The awareness of our navel gazing is nothing new but the movie adds a twist; our ability to use technology to serve this purpose. It seems to provide a cure: we can all have our own personal technological male 0r female to serve our desires! Cohen provides several examples that embody this self focus, including selfies, watching only a cable network that provides the information you want to hear (Fox, MSNBC). He also adds that Americans have about 70 million dogs and 74 million cats and, says “…while some of them are for helping — guard dogs, etc. — most offer the service of uncomplicated affection.”

The animal companionship item is an odd example to demonstrate narcissism.In fact, it demonstrates our need to be related to others and the joy we receive from that connection. People with animals know that you spend a fair amount of time fulfilling their basic care needs. Other time is spend playing with them and showing them affection. We have relationships with the animals. We love watching them be themselves, and get an amazing amount of joy out of the things that they do. That’s far from narcissistic and someone who has a pet for their own glorification is providing a great disservice and missing out on so much.

Book Compares NFL Players to Strippers

Yesterday in the newspaper opinion section, Rick Maese, a sports writer for The Washington Post, provided an analysis of two books on experiences in the National Football League (NFL).  The two books are: “Collision Low Crossers,” Nicholas Dawidoff and former tight end Nate Jackson, who looks back on his six-year career in “Slow Getting Up.”  I’ll let you read the reviews to get the gist of his review.

Most interesting to me is that despite 500 pages, Dawidoff provides little insight into the sport’s locker room and its culture. Yet, we learn something we know already, that room is Y-chromosome world with few social boundaries, where teasing is a principle of communication. This kind of humor and teasing comes across in Jackson’s book. It’s a place where one ponders the on-demand adult movies available in hotels and daydream about Playboy models. The reviewer bemoans the lack of substantive discussion Jackson offers regarding the bullying or the use of stimulants and other illegal drugs to maintain one’s career. Maese does mention that Jackson likens being a football player to being a stripper:

“Both strippers and professional athletes live on the fringes of a society that judges them for their profession, based solely on stereotypes. These stereotypes are nearly impenetrable. Both stripper and athlete stand alone behind them, and often find solace with those who know what it’s like to be there.”

Maese found the comparison intriguing and wished the book had more of this kind of thought and insight. I agree that this is intriguing but don’t necessarily accept the comparison. First, I question whether being in a life of the NFL is on the fringes of society. Really, when most men in the game have homes with nuclear families to return to during the season and afterwards as well. Can the same be said of the majority of strippers? I used to live with two women who danced and they were always hoping to find some man who would take them away from the business. Would any NFL player feel that way?

While a stereotype might be guiding the way people view both professions, is the stereotype of the NFL player, such as the dumb jock, that much different than the stereotype of a basketball player, or  a baseball player. Isn’t there a lot of camaraderie that exists among athletes from different sports. They have their pro-am golf events among other places to play and exult with one another.  Does the stripper have a similar situation? I think she and the hes that perform, stand more alone and isolated.

I do agree that the “real person” behind the player or stripper many not be seen. I also see a comparison that Jackson does not mention, that each has a short-term career, that their careers are based upon physical fitness and performance of physical tasks that become harder as one ages. Both are pieces of meat, and are in such specialized professions that it cam be hard to adjust to a different work experience.

Indeed, as one ages, it is quite likely that the owners of the team or the clubs and bars, may find it easy to replace the player or the stripper. It’s then that I see the most potent similarity to their situations. Both will lose the bonding in their single-sex world; in the locker rooms, or back stage. They feel cast off and lose the strong sense of inclusion in a team/group and the identity that goes with their profession: football player and stripper. That loss is what Jackson identifies and observes is a powerful feeling to lose that disturbs many retired players.

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.

alums

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.

Pacers Versus Heat

Who is not loving this battle royale between the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat? Got individual match-ups such as Paul George versus LeBron James, and Stephenson versus LeBron James.

Roy Hibbert and David West are playing big man, inside basketball in contrast to the Heat’s drive-penetration-kick out shoot up three ball of Dwayne Wade, Mario Chalmers,

I’m still rooting for the Pacers but Roy Hibbert’s comments at the end of Game Six gave me pause.

http://espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2013/story/_/id/9334504/2013-nba-playoffs-roy-hibbert-indiana-pacers-apologizes-postgame-gay-slur

Even with Jason Collins’ announcement of his sexuality, we are still ways away from knee-jerk gay slurs.

What do these guys mean to say when they use gay slurs. Do they mean to impinge on the manhood of the guys they are playing? Are they simply words that are so ingrained in their heads that they fly out, without meaning?

Yes, but when one watches Hibbert deliver the phrase while laughing, you are given cause to wonder what the inside joke was that was obviously going through his head. Wikipedia can help:  The phrase is clearly both prevalent in hip hop but it is now being parodying.

Gay Big Man, Big Deal in Basketball and Sports

Jason Collins is now the first active male team sports player to announce his sexuality. For members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community this is a big deal because sports has been a pillar in the maintenance of the sanctity of heterosexuality for men in this country. His declaration helps disrupt the image of the American male athlete as the heroic individual who wants and gets the girl.

As importantly, Collins’ declaration offers a big difference to the wish fulfillment fantasy that has long been part of the view of sports. How many boys and girls have looked at the successful athlete and thought, “I want to be them.” Now, a gay boy and teen can own that feeling to a much greater extent. Here is one guy who plays ball and has said that he is like me. The gay male adult can fantasize about having a relationship with a male athlete now.

http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/Jason-Collins-is-first-major-American-pro-sports-athlete-to-come-out-gay-reaction-042913

A quick look at the comments shows how far the country has come and how far it needs to go. The usual suspects and stars like Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade, have announced their support. Also thrilled that former teams, including the Washington Wizards, expressed their congratulations to him, as did current Wizard players such as Bradley Beal and Jan Vesely and Trevor Ariza.

Members of the Fox Sports online readership have not! The first usual argument is that the announcement is not a big deal. Then they malign his playing ability, as if simply being a NBA player for 12 years is an easy task. Next is to attack the announcement as more personal information that they don’t want to know. One wonders if they feel the same about knowing who Tom Brady had a baby with, or whom Derek Jeter is dating.

Finally, there is the crew that impinges on Collins’ manhood and calls being gay a choice or sick. Many of these people are the usual Christians who exhibit their usual tolerance for someone who does not think or act like them, yet they consider their selves good Christians. Here’s one example: People may congratulate and agree with gays coming out, but what really matters is what God says. The Bible says homosexuality is a sin against God, just like stealing, lying, and pride. It doesn’t make someone worse than a liar, but it does make them a sinner. And that sin un-paid for by Christ’s sacrifice will lead to eternal punishment in hell.

what I’m learning is NBA players are exponentially more tolerant than NBA fans… Awesome.

Outrage: Documentary Few Saw

Outrage: the actions of closeted homosexual, gay, bisexual and lesbian politicians who vote against any legislation that advances the rights and offers benefits to gay people, including gay marriage, benefits, equal protection under the law, gays in the military.

Outrage: closeted homosexual, and out gay, bisexual and lesbian politicians political operatives who run political campaigns that demonize homosexuality and strike fear into people in order to have their candidates win elections.

Outrage: the energy that motivates certain reporters and bloggers to report on the closeted political figures who are hypocritical because they demonize gay and lesbian people.

Outrage: what viewers might feel as they watch the movie Outrage

http://youtu.be/NaTsmXaw5NQ

The argument is that these repressed people with homosexual desires attack the gay, lesbian community more in order to be seen as not gay or lesbian. There is some validity to this, especially for people who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. The outing is a fight back method to force these politicians to end their hypocricy. The belief is that if everyone comes out then it will be harder for people to be anti-gay/lesbian.

There are interesting questions about the psychology of these politicians and political operatives but also about the people who marry them and what there lives must be like being with someone who is leading a double life.

What works less successfully are:

The movie does not address the page scandal that rocked Congress in the early 1980s, virtually forcing Congressman Gerry Stubbs to come out. Nor does it discuss Congressman Bob Bauman and his arrest for attempting to solicit sex from a male prostitute. These would have been interesting to establish context and to discusds how difficult it is for some people to come out.

whether being a Republican means more as an identity to these politicians and political operatives than being gay or lesbian. One could argue that the politicians are being hypocritical but also are Republicians who believe in most of the party’s creed. They care less about their gay identity, if they even have such an identity.

whether the politicians can vote against these laws because they view the laws as having no effect on their daily lives as opposed to the effect that coming out would have on their lives.

Out In Major Leagues

Versus Television showed a fascinating documentary on Glenn Burke, the Los Angeles Dodger and Oakland A who was out of the closet while on these teams.

As a gay man and a huge sports fan I already knew Burke’s story. When I played gay softball in Boston there were other people who played minor league professional baseball who were on teams. Burke played semi-professional gay softball after leaving professional baseball in the early 1980s.

The documentary asks tons of people to discuss Glenn’s story and is a great look at his childhood through the days in the Castro as its sports king. Burke certainly faced prejudice from several managers, including Tommy Lasorda and Billy Martin. I had no idea that Lasorda had a gay son and that he was not reconciled with that fact, which is very sad.

The documentary does a good job of asking how Glenn Burke’s homosexuality hurt him among the team leaders.

The documentary misses an important question and focus: how did Burke’s homosexuality affect his baseball playing.

Burke is a four-tool man: run, hit with power, great arm and great defense: lacking hitting for average. What happened when he reached the show is that much of the talent remained unrealized.

When Burke was traded from the Dodgers, probably through Lasorda’s machinations, a person in the documentary asserted he was hitting .250. Actually, Burke played in sixteen games, scored two runs, drove in two runs, had no home runs and was hitting .211.  Not a valuable utility player’s statistics.  His average barely rose in the 1979 season in Oakland. My question is did Burke put in the work necessary to make himself a better ballplayer? We heard he spent a lot of time in the Castro District having a ball. No problem except you have to do your job well or it is possible that you will lose it. This is called work ethic and gay or not, it is vital.

We hear from players on the Dodgers and the Athletics that Burke would frequently not ride on the buses or sleep in the same hotel as the team. This is bad for team morale and chemistry. The documentary did not ask the players if heterosexual players did something similar. Did big stars do this? Did they have women and groupies waiting for them to drive them away as Burke did? If they did, how did the other players’ on the team react?

Two Day Trip

Ah, western Virginia. Into the mountains and the small towns along the Blue Ridge. First day hit Staunton, birthplace of Woodrow Wilson and Billy Haines. President Wilson’s library and museum have much to see. Collections of his personal memorabilia and everything to do with the events of his time. Women’s suffrage, World War I, including old Pierce Arrow autos.

There is no marker for actor Billy Haines’ birthplace. The M-G-M star of the 1920s made a post-movie career for himself as an interior decorator for the stars. He and his partner Jimmy Shields lived a long happily married life.

Went to the local farmer’s market and were amazed at the size and amount of vegetables and other items. Great number of businesses along the main street, Beverly but less so in other parts of downtown. Very helpful visitor’s center.

Down Route 81 to Roanoke, Virginia. We went to the Taubman Museum to see its collection.

The building is a great design but it really lacks effective connection to the local streets. The cafe is hidden and there are no entrances to the Market Square where many locals and tourists go for food and activities.

We enjoyed much of the collection and really enjoyed Tim Tate’s exhibit.

The show had beautiful imagery inside glass reliquaries and on the walls beside the glass pieces. It really drew raves from staff and visitors.

After going to our hotel and relaxing, we drove back downtown to look at the Market Center area for dinner. We were surprised to see pricey menus and eventually opted for a sea food restaurant in the Grandin Court neighborhood. Home to hipppies who could afford to move out of downtown, the area had an art deco movie theater, a ballet theater, and a few co-ops and natural foods locations.

Eventually, we returned to downtown and drove past a few of the local gay bars.  The neighborhood place had a big pool table and a small counter area. The dnace club wasn’t opened yet and the other palce seemed more gay-friendly than gay.

Next day we drove to Otters Peak and saw the National Park Service’s Johnson Family Farm from the 1850s. Enjoyed the excursion in the woods and seeing fauns. Then off to Otter Peak Vineyard to taste wines made of fruits, including plum, apple, and mango (Plumlicious, and Mango Tango were some of the 11 names for these sweet after-dinner wines).

Stopped in a small town called Bedford for a walk around and lunch at a nice little restaurant, Court Street Pizza. Nice to see all the small businesses that can continue to flourish in a small county seat.