And yet, as Pat Griffin points out HERE, when we think of straight allies, the names we think of are those of men:
Sean Avery joins professional athletes Scott Fujita (NFL), Steve Nash (NBA), Reggie Bush (NFL), Charles Barkley (NBA), Brendon Ayanbadejo (NFL), who have, in the last year, spoken out publicly against anti-gay discrimination or harassment. OK, there are still many athletes who are silent, but it wasn’t that long ago when public anti-gay comments were the norm and the absence of positive comments was total. Add to this list former NFL commissioner Paul Taglibue, Toronto Maple Leafs GM, Brian Burke and his son Patrick and Ohio State Football Coach, Jim Tressel and the number of men in men’s sports speaking up gets longer. It gets longer still if you add Boston Red Sox Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia and Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, who have all spoken out in support of Boston sportswriter, Steve Buckley’s coming out.
In any case, we can only echo her call:
If we are to eliminate homophobia and heterosexism in sport, we need more heterosexual allies to speak up publicly, both women and men. Consider this a challenge to heterosexual men and women in women’s sports to do so. Your voice makes a difference. Stand up. Speak up. Use your heterosexual status and credentials to make sports a better place for everyone. If you are afraid to do it alone, get together with a group of coaches or athletes in your sport or your school to make a statement. Do it. Do it now. It is the right thing to do and it makes all sports a better place for coaches and athletes of all sexual orientations.