On his blog, Huffington Post Gay Voices, Op-Ed writer Michelangelo Signorile made the outrageous claim that: “Professional football, perhaps more than any other male team sport, is based on misogyny and homophobia, built on it from the ground up.”
Hmmm. It’s a sport women are physically unequipped to play at high levels – that must be the misogyny. And it so far hasn’t allowed itself to be bullied into pretending that two percent of the population that tends to self-select away from the game really matters to it: Homophobia.
A little earlier in his article Michelangelo asked if it was “a coincidence that the NFL is more popular than ever, with the Super Bowl as the ultimate national event, at the same time that many American men are in the midst of a masculinity crisis …” The answer is a resounding no. The NFL has been voted the most popular sport for the last thirty years! It isn’t suddenly more popular, and if it appears that way it is not because of some supposed “masculinity crisis.” It is because the media and marketing have realized that females make up 45 percent of the fan base and it is the females who are “most likely to become brand loyalists.” Therefore it was hypothesized that if they could market to her sensibilities and sense of style they would see an increase in sales and the experiment with it was a success. The demographics of NFL fans has shifted, not the sports popularity itself.
As for homophobia, to say that the entire football league and fandom are homophobic just because one Vikings coach made some outrageous statement or the first openly gay player (a mediocre and slightly undersized talent) wasn’t signed to a team’s roster, instead having to settle for a place on the Cowboys’ practice squad is asinine. Tim Tebow, an openly Christian quarterback, hasn’t been signed to a team after being dropped from the New England Patriots last year and he was the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner! Yet there are no absurd claims from the religious community that the NFL is “Anti-Christian,” or theophobic, even though much of the sports media assuredly is.
A poll taken by Sports Illustrated in February 2014 shows that the vast majority of NFL players are not homophobic. The poll shows a whopping 86 percent would not object to having an openly gay player on their team. As for the fans, we care more about our team’s record and fantasy points than any one player’s sexuality. On the other hand, we watch football to be entertained, and resent the political intrusions from our liberal betters.
“Entire generations have grown up,” Signorile wrote, “and, in many cases, still grow up – with it being routine for high-school and college football coaches to demean the players during training by calling them ‘girls’ or ‘ladies’ if they don’t perform well.” The horror! Violence against women or anyone weaker must naturally follow!
Signorile claimed that “American men have been raised on the idea that if they don't participate in male team sports, they’re maybe a little faggy, and football, as surely the most aggressive of male team sports, is the holy grail if you want to prove you’re not.”
Right. Clayton Kershaw, Mike Trout? Baseball players, so they’re kinda light in the loafers. Same with Lebron James. Roger Federer, Tiger Woods? Fags. It’s a sliding scale down to where the guys who are to small and skinny to be picked for kickball can’t even be males. In Signorile’s imagination, mens’ sports is a Lord-of-the-Flies nightmare.
Certainly, football is a contact-heavy, testosterone-driven physical sport and not every male is cut out for it. And those that are come from diverse backgrounds. For every Ray Rice or incident of “homophobia,” there are dozens who just play the game and get on with their lives. They’re playing football, not making a political.
That’s what activists like Signorile can’t stand.