The coming out of gay former NBA player John Amaechi was boosted on Monday by an interview on CNN's afternoon show Newsroom, where anchor Don Lemon framed the interview as a question of social progress and tolerance: "do you think that the NBA now is ready for a player who may be out, while they're playing? Do you think the league is mature enough to handle that?"
Amaechi responded that the NBA may soon be "clean" on this issue, regardless of how the "clean" word's been politically dangerous in the last few weeks: "I think that [NBA Commissioner] David Stern is mature enough to handle that. I think he wants an organization that is pristine, and part of that, if you want, cleanliness will be to have a league that accepts all types, as long as they do have the ability."
The interview allowed Amaechi to spread the common liberal assumption that there are two kinds of individuals: the progressives and the cavemen. Disagree with liberals, and you're incapable of reasoning. Despite the example of someone like Tim Hardaway making ill-considered remarks declaring their own hate, there seems no way for a conservative point of view to be well-considered:
LEMON: "What do you have to say about some of the players? Players like LeBron James who say it's a trust issue. What do you make of what -- how the players are reacting to this?"
AMAECHI: "I think many of the players have shown you that the NBA is not a league of Neanderthals. It's a league where there are some very well-considered, well-thought-out individuals. And they've made comments that have reflected that."
Lemon also helpfully read back to Amaechi a passage in his book that slams conservatives on so-called gay marriage, but the Q&A that followed stressed how homoeroticism is deeply embedded in sports:
LEMON: "Yeah, you said -- you quoted, saying that 'Political conservatives tend to define gay people as immoral, perverted and promiscuous, yet they deny them the one institution, that to them, represents the opposite. It's a handy catch-22 with which you bind a whole group of people to second-class citizenship.' (Lemon actually bungled the quote as he read it, but CNN also put it on screen for the viewer to absorb.)
"But I want to talk to you also, that -- you have become a political activist when it comes to an issue like that. But you're also talking about the locker room, and that's where everyone wants to know about this whole thing. It seems that's where the controversy is, that you're going to be in the locker room with other men, who may think that you want them as a gay man, which is sort of presumptuous. You say that to think that every -- that a gay man would want every man."
"But here's what you say -- in the book. You said, 'The pro locker room was the flamboyant place I've ever been this side of a swanky club full of martini-drinking gay men... They guys flaunted their perfect bodies. They bragged about their sexual exploits. They checked out each other.' You said they checked out each others' body parts and they primped in the mirror, applying cologne and hair gel by the bucketful. Now, what did you mean by that?"
AMAECHI: "Well, I think it's pretty self-explanatory. There is -- I don't think anybody can claim that within sports -- male sports there isn't an undercurrent of -- there's certainly -- it's not homosexual, but there is a vibe there is homoerotic, and you have to accept that.
"And I just want to go back to the point about being checked out in the locker room by gay men. There isn't anybody in the NBA probably who hasn't played with a gay man. They just don't know about it. But the fact is it's so narcissistic, and it's so arrogant to think that you would be checked out. When I entered a locker room, for me, it was me and my teammates going into battle. We were going to try and kick some tail on the other team and that was it. It was a work environment. "
LEMON: "Yes, and just by you saying that there is some homoeroticism to it might make people uncomfortable, and they might understand what some of the other players are saying."
AMAECHI: "Yes, but it is homoerotic. But it's not homoerotic because there are gay people in the locker room. It's homoerotic because it is homoerotic. Sport has been homoerotic since the Greeks starting doing it."
Suffused throughout the interview was Amaechi's confidence in his role in forcing people to accept homosexuality, that "there is something I can add to the debate. I can create discourse. I can allow people to talk about issues that perhaps they otherwise wouldn't be forced to talk about." But CNN and the other media aren't having a debate. They're having a sensitivity training seminar.
Update 10:48 by Matthew Sheffield. Too much off-topic posting here. NB is supposed to be about media bias, not the morality of a particular political issue, in this case, homosexuality. Locking.