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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Perry: Torii Hunter: Having gay teammate would be ‘difficult’

Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times has written an insightful piece on the life of the gay athlete in professional sports. As part of his reporting, Baxter sought out comments from a number of straight athletes on the subject, and here’s how he summarized his conversation with veteran Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter:

  Like in the New England Patriots’ locker room. Earlier this season linebacker Brandon Spikes sent out a tweet claiming to be homophobic “just like I’m arachnophobic. I have nothing against homosexuals or spiders but I’d still scream if I found one in my bathtub.”

  Spikes later said he was joking. But former Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, among baseball’s most thoughtful and intelligent players, isn’t kidding when he says an “out” teammate could divide a team.

  “For me, as a Christian … I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it’s not right,” he says. “It will be difficult and uncomfortable.”

Hunter is of course entitled to his personal beliefs (although one wonders whether he is similarly affronted by, say, shellfish and neatly maintained beards, which are also forbidden by the holiness code of Leviticus), and when he talks about potential problems within the clubhouse, he may well be correct.

Thanks to Carlos.

Repoz Posted: December 30, 2012 at 06:19 PM | 335 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: tigers

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   301. TJ Posted: January 01, 2013 at 11:35 PM (#4336578)
Played on a lot of sports teams in my time, and had a few gay teammates. If I learned anything from them, it was this- gay is an orientation, assless chaps are a choice, just like straight is an orientation, but skank is a choice...
   302. Sheer Tim Foli Posted: January 01, 2013 at 11:41 PM (#4336581)
Only a klein bottle can explain both of those phenomena concurrently.


This sounds plausible. Do you have a website source? I don't believe any crank in a baseball site.
   303. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 01, 2013 at 11:44 PM (#4336582)
I will offer it up as a logical and practical certainty that there are quite a few gay athletes, and have been for many decades, who are in a sort of "open closet": fairly obvious to teammates who know them well, but uncommented-upon in public for various reasons (common courtesy, team solidarity). And such open-closet situations haven't divided teams, or at least not more than lots of other personal or relationship issues can divide a team. I'm not going to say if I know of any such situations directly – that would smack of the Bill-James "there are some juicers in the HOF" remark – but seriously, extrapolate from any workplace you've ever been in: that's how it works (or used to work, not long ago, in more tolerant professions). Hunter and others who make such remarks may be innocents at best, but I'd be surprised if some of his former teammates here and there haven't read them and said to themselves, "Torii, what about so-and-so, didn't you have a clue that he was gay?"

If there were athletes in the Big Four sports who were living in an "open closet," it seems likely they would have been outed by now. Between the hundreds of media members who cover sports teams (some of whom are gay and perhaps have their own agenda), the ubiquity of camera phones and the like, entire websites devoted to listing the wives and girlfriends of pro athletes, etc., it seems hard to believe that an open secret like that could be kept out of the media for very long. In 1950 or 1980, maybe. Today, no way.
   304. Morty Causa Posted: January 01, 2013 at 11:54 PM (#4336587)
Those who are upset with Hunter, what exactly upsets you? That he feels as he does, or that he publicly expressed how he felt?
   305. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:37 AM (#4336605)
In your experience, when have you ever been terrorized by Christians?


When they invaded Iraq and caused the death of hundreds of thousands of primarily Muslim human beings. The invasion, the bombing, and the occupation, was carried out on the orders of an almost exclusively Christian administration with a devoutly Christian President convinced that America was a Christian nation; further, its Commander-in-Chief proudly told us he prayed to his militant Christian god for guidance and approval of the invasion, the bombing, and the occupation, which his god indeed provided. Bush clearly felt he was acting in the name of his Christian God. He was certain of it. Is that scary enough for you? Is that terrifying enough for you?

CB's response was also a good one.


I apologize to SBB. I started the "ad hominem" when I said he was unhinged.


You could have done a lot worse. You could have said, "Don't you have a bunch of Jack Morris ballots to fill out?"
   306. PreservedFish Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:58 AM (#4336620)
If there were athletes in the Big Four sports who were living in an "open closet," it seems likely they would have been outed by now. Between the hundreds of media members who cover sports teams (some of whom are gay and perhaps have their own agenda), the ubiquity of camera phones and the like, entire websites devoted to listing the wives and girlfriends of pro athletes, etc., it seems hard to believe that an open secret like that could be kept out of the media for very long. In 1950 or 1980, maybe. Today, no way.


The fascinating thing about the Tiger Woods philandering story was the fact that it was kept a secret for as long as it was - he was organizing his adultery on a grand scale, with little discretion - a million people must have known what was going on, but none of it was publicized in any way. And once the news broke, indeed there were fresh reports every hour. I think the modern world still has room for open secrets.
   307. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:22 AM (#4336631)

Yes and no. Was anyone really surprised, in a non-Capt. Renault kind of way, that a super-rich athlete was screwing around? "Athlete cheats on wife" is the sports equivalent of "Dog bites man." But if Tiger Woods was known to be gay, I doubt that would have remained a secret for years.
   308. PerroX Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:31 AM (#4336638)
Is that scary enough for you? Is that terrifying enough for you?


Not as much as multiple bbtf identies.
   309. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:44 AM (#4336659)
Yes and no. Was anyone really surprised, in a non-Capt. Renault kind of way, that a super-rich athlete was screwing around? "Athlete cheats on wife" is the sports equivalent of "Dog bites man." But if Tiger Woods was known to be gay, I doubt that would have remained a secret for years.


Yes. It clearly was a non-story that surprised no one.
   310. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: January 02, 2013 at 08:02 AM (#4336680)
Jesus, Perros. You break out of your somnolent, performance art-fortune cookie posting with this?? Don't encourage him.

It's Alex, I'm sure.

Our friend is like a guy in a coma who every now and then abruptly sits up and spews some non-sequitur, then falls back into unconsciousness.
   311. steagles Posted: January 02, 2013 at 08:11 AM (#4336683)
i'd make a distinction between 'homosexual sex as a special kind of sin' and 'homosexual sex as a sin, on a par with loads and loads of other stuff'. the latter implies equivalency in a small (insufficient way) in that the real issue was that it was sex out of wedlock (where, of course, wedlock wasn't an option - that was what first got me in favor of civil unions back then) - not same-sex sex.
granted, i'm arguing for the me of 15-20 years ago, may not be indicative of where many Christians stood then or now.
again, even if you consider homosexual sex to be the least grave sin of any sin that is a sin, it still is a special kind of sin, specifically because of the identifying factor of it. i identify as gay. but an adulterer does not identify as an adulterer. a liar does not identify as a liar.


so long as any homosexual behavior is viewed as any kind of sin, that will always be a dividing line.
   312. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: January 02, 2013 at 08:13 AM (#4336684)
so long as any homosexual behavior is viewed as any kind of sin, that will always be a dividing line.

What do you say to someone who views homosexuality as sin?
   313. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: January 02, 2013 at 08:17 AM (#4336685)
What do you say to someone who views homosexuality as sin?

"Fuck off you bigot."
   314. calhounite Posted: January 02, 2013 at 08:52 AM (#4336690)
Not many people know this, but Bush is a MUSLIM.

When Bush was told by the King of Saudi Arabia

that Muslims believe that God anointed some illiterate scuzzbucket who spent half his life in some cave contemplating his navel supported by his relatives to lead the world into perpetual holy war
-

he converted.

Christianity, in its purest form, is completely non-judgemental.

and the quickest way to an intolerant society

is to tolerate intolerance.
   315. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 02, 2013 at 10:16 AM (#4336743)
When they invaded Iraq and caused the death of hundreds of thousands of primarily Muslim human beings. The invasion, the bombing, and the occupation, was carried out on the orders of an almost exclusively Christian administration with a devoutly Christian President convinced that America was a Christian nation; further, its Commander-in-Chief proudly told us he prayed to his militant Christian god for guidance and approval of the invasion, the bombing, and the occupation, which his god indeed provided. Bush clearly felt he was acting in the name of his Christian God. He was certain of it. Is that scary enough for you? Is that terrifying enough for you?


Though I confess to having a tough time keeping the religious bigotry straight, I thought the Jewish neocons were responsible for the Iraq invasion, thereby doing Israel's bidding.
   316. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: January 02, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4336750)
fair enough, steagles. even then, i'd've been down with "specifically because of the identifying factor of it."
   317. PerroX Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4336980)
What do you say to someone who views homosexuality as sin?

\"#### off you bigot."


That's easy to say on the internet, or when you have no stake at all in the argument and can run away from it at any time. It's far more interesting, and engaging, if you take the position of a James Alison and stand your ground while challenging the teachings as a theologian... or merely as a layman.

Namecalling really never gets you anywhere, except admittance to the peanut gallery.
   318. PerroX Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4336983)
Joe, I dreamed I was you last night. Slipped on the ice and developed a subdural hematoma....
   319. CrosbyBird Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4337067)
That's easy to say on the internet, or when you have no stake at all in the argument and can run away from it at any time. It's far more interesting, and engaging, if you take the position of a James Alison and stand your ground while challenging the teachings as a theologian... or merely as a layman.

I actually think it's not "interesting" or "engaging," but shameful and pathetic. Gay Catholics seem like very close analogues to battered women that defend their abusive husbands.

Namecalling really never gets you anywhere, except admittance to the peanut gallery.

It's not "namecalling" to call something by its proper name. The purpose of calling out bigotry as bigotry is to expose it for what it is, and to demonstrate the unacceptability of that behavior loudly and publicly.
   320. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 02, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4337083)
It's not "namecalling" to call something by its proper name.

What if you're wrong about its "proper name," as you were, for example, about the proper name to denominate the naked religious bigotry we see in the thread?

As others have noted, a thread faction has declared itself judge and jury over what things are "bigotry," and what things deserve "toleration." The faction has further appropriated to itself the power to slur those deemed to be "bigots" or "intolerant." What is the source of this appropriated authority?

(It's important to note here that the faction isn't simply "calling out bigotry," it's slandering and defining people as "bigots," a rather immutable and irredeemible term.)

   321. PerroX Posted: January 02, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4337170)
I actually think it's not "interesting" or "engaging," but shameful and pathetic. Gay Catholics seem like very close analogues to battered women that defend their abusive husbands.


What if Catholic is as much or more a part of your identity as 'gay'? Or any other identity that doesn't get majority seal of approval? What you just wrote is incredibly patronizing, as is much of the discussion in this thread. Let adults decide who they are and what they want.

It's not "namecalling" to call something by its proper name. The purpose of calling out bigotry as bigotry is to expose it for what it is, and to demonstrate the unacceptability of that behavior loudly and publicly.


Ultimately what "calling out" comes down to is bullying, plain and simple. It's a naked power play in place of rational, intelligent discourse. What ends up happening is minority opinion gets squashed by mere volume instead of engaged and overcome. Not only does bigotry get shouted down, but anyone who questions such tactics gets yelled down as well as "dangerously naive", or worse.

The thing that's always scared me is the self-righteous, all-knowing crowd that goes after the lone individual. Every lynching party in history always thought it was serving the public good.
   322. something like a train wreck Posted: January 02, 2013 at 05:51 PM (#4337248)
I'm not going to read through 321 posts, so I'm probably repeating a point raised by others, but what did Hunter say that is so terrible? For reasons I choose not to explain, I have contact (not that kind of contact) with men who love wearing women's underwear. It make me uncomfortable to know about it, and it would be very uncomfortable if I was in a locker room with a man wearing a girdle, garter belt and stockings. So what? I don't attack, denounce or seek to make anything illegal, nor does Hunter, as far as i know. So that leaves his continuing to believe that homosexuality is contrary to Christian moral teachings. Is that enough to make him worthy of hundreds of denunciatory comments?
   323. Nasty Nate Posted: January 02, 2013 at 05:57 PM (#4337258)
For reasons I choose not to explain, I have contact (not that kind of contact) with men who love wearing women's underwear. It make me uncomfortable to know about it, and it would be very uncomfortable if I was in a locker room with a man wearing a girdle, garter belt and stockings. So what?


Don't you see how terrible the analogy is? Hunter wasn't talking about witnessing homosexual acts in the clubhouse.

I'm not going to read through 321 posts ... Is that enough to make him worthy of hundreds of denunciatory comments?


Why do you assume the hundreds of posts are denunciatory?
   324. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 02, 2013 at 06:05 PM (#4337268)
Hunter wasn't talking about witnessing homosexual acts in the clubhouse.

What's determinative about that? What if he was out with 10 teammates and one of them turned on gay porn in the limo and he said, "Turn that #### off and put on some women"?(*)

The unanswered question remains, "By what authority does the community demand that Hunter be equally comfortable around all his teammates?"

(*) And if he did witness homosexual acts in the clubhouse, would he be allowed to disapprove, and express disapproval? Would that disapproval have to be neutral as to the gender of the participants?
   325. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: January 02, 2013 at 06:24 PM (#4337287)
Ultimately what "calling out" comes down to is bullying, plain and simple. It's a naked power play in place of rational, intelligent discourse. What ends up happening is minority opinion gets squashed by mere volume instead of engaged and overcome. Not only does bigotry get shouted down, but anyone who questions such tactics gets yelled down as well as "dangerously naive", or worse.

Bigotry, like the kind discussed here, has been responsible for the deaths of how many gays? Can we agree on "many"? But you're concerned with "shouting down" bigotry, because why? Because bigots need to be "engaged and overcome"?

You are "dangerously naive", but probably not worse.

   326. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: January 02, 2013 at 06:28 PM (#4337291)
(*) And if he did witness homosexual acts in the clubhouse, would he be allowed to disapprove, and express disapproval? Would that disapproval have to be neutral as to the gender of the participants?

As the clubhouse isn't an appropriate place for any kind of "sexual acts", he would be allowed to disapprove and express disapproval, as long as he offered the disclaimer "not just gay sex".

Otherwise, he should be smitten verily.
   327. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: January 02, 2013 at 06:31 PM (#4337296)
"By what authority does the community demand that Hunter be equally comfortable around all his teammates?"

As stated several times earlier, it's not about how he feels. It's about expressing those feelings. Poor baby Torii. He doesn't like homosexuals. Poor baby. Grow up, Torii Hunter. Grow up.
   328. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 02, 2013 at 06:32 PM (#4337297)
Bigotry, like the kind discussed here, has been responsible for the deaths of how many gays? Can we agree on "many"?

Depends what you mean by "many"?

Not that it's particularly relevant anyway, because the relationship between Hunter's discomfort and disapproval, and deaths is attenuated, to put it charitably.
   329. PerroX Posted: January 02, 2013 at 08:36 PM (#4337371)
Bigotry, like the kind discussed here, has been responsible for the deaths of how many gays? Can we agree on "many"? But you're concerned with "shouting down" bigotry, because why? Because bigots need to be "engaged and overcome"?

You are "dangerously naive", but probably not worse.


You'd be dangerous if you weren't merely a blowhard, Joe.
   330. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: January 02, 2013 at 08:53 PM (#4337375)
And no matter how hard you try, you aren't getting into Wallbanger's will. Or anything else of his.
   331. PerroX Posted: January 02, 2013 at 09:08 PM (#4337379)
Keep fighing for the defenseless animals, Joe. Neither you nor me nor anyone else here's gonna solve gay rights issues going back and forth on bbtf.
   332. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 02, 2013 at 10:27 PM (#4337456)
The thing that's always scared me is the self-righteous, all-knowing crowd that goes after the lone individual. Every lynching party in history always thought it was serving the public good.


By God, calling Hunter a "bigot" makes us as bad as the Klan!
How did I miss that??

Is that enough to make him worthy of hundreds of denunciatory comments?


Seriously? If you haven't bothered to read through the comments and seen the tenor of the posts, why should anyone trouble to respond to you?
   333. Morty Causa Posted: January 03, 2013 at 01:16 AM (#4337709)
I'd still be interested to know what it is that those who are so upset with Hunter are so upset about. Is it that feels like he does or is it that he expresses publicly how he feels? What is his transgression in your eyes?
   334. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: January 03, 2013 at 07:25 AM (#4337747)
Neither you nor me nor anyone else here's gonna solve gay rights issues going back and forth on bbtf.

Thank you, Captain Obvious.
   335. CrosbyBird Posted: January 03, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4338043)
What if you're wrong about its "proper name," as you were, for example, about the proper name to denominate the naked religious bigotry we see in the thread?

I suppose if I were wrong you would have a good point. Believe what you want to believe, and say what you want to say, but accept the consequences for your belief and your speech. That's the same deal everyone gets, whether I agree or disagree with your philosophy. That seems like that exact opposite of bigotry.

If your belief causes you to provide favorable or unfavorable treatment to someone based on what they are, rather than what they do, then your belief rejects the basic principle of equality of intrinsic human worth. You're entitled to that belief and I am entitled to characterize it as bigoted. To me, that is the essence of bigotry: the rejection of the principle that all human beings are equally intrinsically worthwhile.

What is the source of this appropriated authority?

The source is, at its heart, my own belief (which I am entitled to), and the generally acceptance and trending of that belief in modern civilized society.

(It's important to note here that the faction isn't simply "calling out bigotry," it's slandering and defining people as "bigots," a rather immutable and irredeemible term.)

It's not one bit immutable or irredeemable. "Bigot" is shorthand for "person who behaves in a bigoted manner." Stop behaving that way and you'll no longer be a bigot. I don't care one bit what you THINK, but I do care what you SAY, and what you DO.

Hunter's words are damaging to an oppressed group in society, and in this day and age, it is impossible to truly claim ignorance. He is making a choice. That choice is bigoted. A bigot is someone who makes bigoted choices. It would be trivial for him to change things.

What if Catholic is as much or more a part of your identity as 'gay'? Or any other identity that doesn't get majority seal of approval? What you just wrote is incredibly patronizing, as is much of the discussion in this thread. Let adults decide who they are and what they want.

What if "abuser's wife" is as much or more a part of your identity as "individual human being deserving of non-abusive treatment"? Should we praise that sense of priorities?

Adults can "decide" whatever they want so long as it doesn't harm others. The battered wife can absolutely decide for herself that she values her connection to the marriage more than her physical and emotional safety, and it isn't my place to compel her to change her priorities. It is my place to criticize that behavior; I must accept it because I have no right to compel anyone to embrace my values, but I need not respect it, nor remain silent about my belief in its wrongness.

Ultimately what "calling out" comes down to is bullying, plain and simple. It's a naked power play in place of rational, intelligent discourse. What ends up happening is minority opinion gets squashed by mere volume instead of engaged and overcome.

No, what happens is that opinion (minority or majority) is confronted and held to task for its consequences. Not once have I suggested that any person be prevented from holding beliefs, nor have I suggested punishment. I'm not threatening anyone. I'm actually respecting humanity and adult status by holding people accountable for their words and actions.

That's what it means to call someone a bigot: you are saying that particular behavior engaged in is discriminatory and harmful, and unacceptable on your personal moral grounds and on your perception of a just society's moral grounds.

The thing that's always scared me is the self-righteous, all-knowing crowd that goes after the lone individual. Every lynching party in history always thought it was serving the public good.

The next lynching I call for will be the first one.
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