Tomorrow night at UGIMA (United Gay Informed Men of African-descent) we will be visited by Hairat Agbaje of the Phoenix Suns/ Phoenix Mercury who will talk with us about the exciting upcoming season of the Mighty Mercury and fill us in on the various opportunities that are available if you’re interested in attending any games.
Following Agbaje’s presentation we will immediately go into our topic for the evening – homophobia in professional sports. The recent array of mixed messages were receiving from the NBA has created an interesting dialogue that is happening around the country. What role can LGBT individuals have in professional sports? Do you have be closeted to be successful? When homophobia rears its ugly head - should a league address it or ignore it and pretend like it doesn't exist?
Kobe Bryant was recently fined 100,000 for using a homophobic slur on the same day that Grant Hill was creating a public service announcement that painted the NBA as an LGBT inclusive organization. Several days later Joakim Noah would make the same homophobic slur in a game.
A few years ago the very first NBA player would come out as openly gay. Shortly after retirement and on the verge of releasing his autobiography, John Amaechi announced to the world that he was a gay man. Tim Hardaway’s reaction was swift and point blank. Hardaway’s reply to Amaechi was “You know, I hate gay people, so let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."
Please join us as we address homophobia in the arena of professional sports. Would the decision to come out for an athlete be career suicide? Do sports organizations (i.e. NBA, WNBA, NFL, Major League Baseball) have a responsibility to support out LGBT individuals? Is it okay for a transgender individual to compete in an all female sport? These questions have many searching for answers that have political correctness and empathy for all involved.