Which Eagles and Phillies Are Gay?

No city loves its athletes more than Philadelphia. But would we still love them if …

And so Brian Sims, the Center City lawyer running for the state legislature in large part to address backward laws about employment and fair access and adoption for gays, who has spoken to some 50 colleges to help administrators and students deal with the new reality of gay athletes, has heard from three closeted pros. Bravo, they tell him. Keep fighting the good fight.

I believe I understand their fear, even that of the player who lambasted Sims just for sharing, with me, the fact of his existence.

Because athletes in our prime sports are actors in a particular sort of drama. I witnessed a minor moment at an Eagles practice that said a lot: Asante Samuel was defending receiver Riley Cooper on a pass that was off the mark, turning Cooper around and exposing him to a big hit to the ribs, though Asante merely hammered him with “Oh, that’s going to get you fucked up, Riley!” Always on the line, in the man-vs.-man wars of football, is your very survival.

Which ramps up the Wild West hyper-machismo bravado that runs through that sport especially. Players will gladly accept a quarterback who went to prison for murdering dogs (our very own Michael Vick), or a wide receiver who shot himself with the illegal gun he’d taken into a nightclub (Plaxico Burress), or a defensive back who has constant run-ins with the law (Pacman Jones), or teammates who beat their wives (take your pick). They get arrested, apologize, maybe do some time, and then return with their machismo often enhanced. No wonder gay players stay silent and hidden.

Of course, we fans think the same way. A gladiator on our football team who sweeps in for the quarterback kill—what if we found out that in his spare time, he was chasing other … men? There’s a reason Rock Hudson (and every other gay leading man in Hollywood since Rock Hudson) didn’t reveal his sexual orientation: The fantasy up there on the screen might be destroyed. Is the risk of meshing the real and imaginary any different when it comes to our sports heroes? Given­ that what they’re playing is much more than a game, the answer, still, is no.

 

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  • Dan

    The writer states that as a rule of thumb 10 % of the population is gay. Maybe he could of done a 5 minute google search and gotten a real number.

  • Rick

    I don’t know….I saw some pro athletes twirling around on the ice today and we all know those ice-twirlers are gay. So what if a bunch of ice skaters were making the moves on the other guys to get from first base to third base in the hope that they could score with another guy? Who cares if some pro player wants to make the moves on our star quarterback and get him in the sack? And what’s up with the big sweaty men piling on one another trying to grab the other guy’s ball? Yo!….Youse gotta wonder! Getta room! Isn’t it cute how a bunch of guys can sit close together in the down-low and slap the butts of their buddies as they enter the dugout? By the way, did anyone look up Broad Street yesterday and see all the guys, our Philly sports fans, in fancy dresses with feathers, dancin and struttin till their heart’s content? How cute was that? Yo Rocky, check out my sequins! Gay? Who cares? Isn’t it beautiful how everyone can…

  • Jessica

    This is a fascinating topic, and had the potential for an interesting article. Instead, it’s another example of poor journalism from Huber.

  • Jessica

    Utterly useless article, based on absolutely nothing other than speculation, and runs the risk of starting a proverbial witch hunt. Private lives are private, and to sensationalize one’s sexuality only furthers anti-gay sentiment.

  • Louis

    Just used to fill space where they couldn’t sell ad space.

  • Jane

    I’d much rather have Michael Vick on my team than a gay.

  • Allyson

    I agree with jea5008 and Anonymous. This article has no point and is a waste of space. Don’t the editors at Philly Mag read this stuff before it is posted/printed???

  • Natalie

    This article is nothing but 7 pages of gossip and useless rhetoric. Philly Mag can’t do better?

  • Natalie

    This article is nothing but 7 pages of gossip and useless rhetoric. Philly Mag can’t do better?

  • B

    St. Joes fans “chanted” Will Sheradon, how does dick taste? Really? That’s a new one. Now is it possible an idiot or two yelled it out? Sure…I don’t recall it, but that’s possible…but a chant organized and supported by the student body. I think that would have been in Big 5 lore for how ugly a chant it would be and we’d all know about it.

  • Troy

    There is no actual number you can just google. Because so many gay people are still closeted, estimates vary wildly. The generally agreed upon number is 10% in America. And while this article was full of rambling and rumor I still expected more support or at least apathy for openly gay athletes. I find the article and comments interesting even if fact-less and anecdotal.

  • Trix

    Good article, but can we stop quoting the one in ten number? Kinsey found at least a third of men had had “some” kind of same sex experience. But only about 5% of the population in Westernised countries will call themselves gay/bisexual.

    Not that it matters if it’s 5 or 10%, or those who are happy to scr*w another man if the opportunity arises. Bigotry is wrong. Being gay does not affect your athleticism. It is not illegal. End of story.

  • Michael

    Terrific article but I question the logic of 10 out of a 100. The sports world is and has been notoriously homophobic. Even if that stat holds up in the real world, I don’t think that it would hold up in the sports world. There’s no denying that there are more gay men in sports than most people would imagine but what’s applicable in the real world doesn’t apply to a microcosmic and very exclusionary setting.

    The pro-sports leagues are finally beginning to take action by fining players for homophobic slurs and making videos but we aren’t to the point, not even close, where an athlete would feel comfortable and safe coming out. We all saw what happened with the New Orleans bounty scandal…an out gay man in football would be a running target, who would be hit harder than his counterparts. I’ve been out since my late teens and think that it’s important to live an open and honest life. At the moment, however, I’m not sure that the mental/emotional spoils of living as an openly gay athlete would be worth the abuse he’d have to face. The leagues need to do more to allow openly gay athletes. Otherwise, I don’t suspect that there will be many out gays in sports any time soon.

    I dream of the day when young gay sports fan(and there are many, despite what you homophobes may think) has a Drew Brees or Halliday to worship. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening any time soon.