Posted in Basketball, christianity, discrimination, Florida, Football, gay, homophobia, lgbt, NBA, NFL, Sports, Uncategorized

The Tim Tebow Effect

“Christianity of the sort that Tebow preaches is the reason people like Collins have such a hard time coming out. Tebow hasn’t said anything disparaging about Collins, but evangelical Christians have no doubt acted like they’re being oppressed by the “gay agenda” while at the same time being the oppressors.” – Hemant Mehta

Recently, NBA free agent center, Jason Collins announced he is gay. Collins because the first openly gay athlete in the four major sports in the United States. The gay community heralded him as an inspiration and a hero. While I was looking up news on his coming out, I came across a woman’s tweet that said it was a sad day when people were heralding Jason Collins as a hero for his openness about his homosexuality and a football player that is outspoken on his Christian faith can’t find a job in the NFL. At that time, Tim Tebow had been released by the New York Jets. It was recently announced that Tim Tebow will become a quarterback for the New England Patriots.

Tim Tebow was brought to national prominence after leading the Florida Gators to two BCS National Championships in 2006 and 2008 and winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007. He was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos in 2010. He has been known for his conservative views on faith before he came on the national stage. Tim Tebow is probably most famous for writing Bible verses on his black eye strips during his college years. He actually inspired the NCAA to ban such a practice. The new rule was dubbed the “Tebow Rule.”He and his mom were spotlighted in a Focus on the Family anti-abortion commercial that was ran during the 2010 Super Bowl. Focus on the Family is run by James Dobson, one of the most prominent anti-gay figures and a leader in the ex-gay movement.

tebow-eye-black-psal_74255a

Tebow is known for touring the country, going to churches and sharing his religious testimony. I don’t hold Tebow’s passion for his faith against him and I actually commend him for standing up for what he believes in. It seems as though some Christians are trying to use Tim Tebow as a martyr for their perceived inequalities about Christianity. As pointed out in the tweet by a woman I mentioned above, and the political cartoon I posted earlier, people are claiming Tebow is being discriminated against by the NFL while everyone is embracing Jason Collins. They ignore the fact that ignorance and intolerance about homosexuality are widespread throughout sports.

So, is Tim Tebow really being discriminated against because of his outspokenness about his faith, or is he just not that great of a quarterback? I have to believe its the latter. There is more evidence to support that Tebow is a subpar quarterback that underperforms in the NFL. Former NFL quarterback, Kurt Warner led the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl championship in 2000 and a Super Bowl appearance for the Rams the following year in 2001 and as the quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals in 2006. I lived in St. Louis during the Ram’s heydays and it was a very well known fact that Kurt Warner was a very religious individual. He was outspoken about his faith and was often seen in Christian commercials. His religiousness never held him back from being a player on a team.

There is actually more proof arguing that people that support gay rights are being discriminated against in the NFL. Brendon Ayanbadejo, former linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens become a national icon for marriage equality during the 2012 NFL season. He is not gay, but a straight ally that used his team’s appearance in the Super Bowl to bring attention to marriage equality. A couple months ago, the Ravens released him. They stated it was not because he was outspoken about his support for gay rights, but one could argue that it is a reason. The Baltimore Ravens had actually pressured him to pipe down about his outspokenness about equality while he was a member of the team. Former kicker for the Minnesota Vikings, Chris Kluwe was also recently released by his team after he spoke up in support for marriage equality. The Vikings deny that’s the reason he was released from the team. Two weeks later, Kluwe signed with the Oakland Raiders. Both Ayanbadejo and Kluwe jointly wrote an amicus brief to the Supreme Court supporting marriage equality. I want to be clear in stating that I am not arguing these are the reasons Brendon and Chris were released by their teams, but it is important to point out for the purpose of this entry.

Chris Kluwe and Brandon Ayanbadejo at the 2013 GLAAD Awards
Chris Kluwe and Brandon Ayanbadejo at the 2013 GLAAD Awards

We know the culture within sports is tense between homosexuality and athletes. Many athletes speak against homosexuality on the air and have negative attitudes about having a gay teammate. Others are open and supportive to the idea of homosexuality in sports. The most damning evidence against the argument that Tim Tebow is the fact that he really is not that great of an NFL quarterback. He thrived in college, because the Gators were built around his type of offense and it was easier for him to run the ball in college than in the NFL. Most NFL teams are not going to build an offense around him. They would have a difficult time signing wide receivers, because they’d know they wouldn’t get to see the ball as often as other teams. Tebow’s stats in the NFL are subpar and not in line with some of the more commanding quarterbacks that teams want.

I find it rather ironic that those who tell gay people to keep their sexuality to his or her self, are now attempting to cry foul and say the media and LGBT community are telling Tim Tebow to keep his faith to himself. Hemant Mehta summarizes it best in the quote I posted above. The fact of the matter is that Tebow wasn’t being shunned by football teams because of his faith, but because he isn’t a strong quarterback. Athletic statistics don’t lie. With the help of Tom Brady and the Patriots staff, Tebow may be able to become a talented NFL QB. Maybe they can train him to play in another position where he will succeed. Time will tell if he will become a better player in the NFL, but his Christianity has nothing to do with how he performs in the NFL. It is ignorant to believe it does.

**The NHL and many other sports teams and athletes have teamed up with the “You Can Play Project,” which is an organization to bring awareness to ignorance about homosexuality in sports. It’s a phenomenal organization and if you haven’t already, I suggest you check them out!**

Posted in Florida, gay, homosexual, justice, lesbian, lgbt, Uncategorized

LGBT Community Embraces Kaitlyn Hunt

Kaitlyn-Hunt-who-faces-felony-sexual-assault-charges-for-a-homosexual-relationship-Facebook

The LGBT community has worked tirelessly to reach the recognition we deserve. We debunked the idea that we were sick. We’ve taken long strides in getting stricter penalties for biased-based crimes on the basis of sexual orientation. We’ve successfully lobbied for the repeal of Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell. We’ve triumphed in some cases and continue to work diligently to bring marriage equality to all American citizens. We’e dismissed the ignorant when they’ve lumped us together with rapists, pedophiles, thieves and murderers. Yet, we are gambling our reputation and hard work by affiliating with and supporting a woman’s criminal case involving having sex with a minor.

18-year-old high school senior, Kaitlyn Hunt of Florida recently found herself on the wrong side of the law. She had been in an intimate relationship with a 14-year-old female who played along side her on their high school basketball team. The 14-year-old’s parents believe Kaitlyn coerced their daughter into becoming a “homosexual.” After discovering Hunt’s relationship with their daughter, the 14-year-old parents took the matter to the police department. The prosecutor’s office is now pursuing two counts of lewd and lascivious acts against a minor against Kaitlyn Hunt. She recently rejected a plea deal of a lesser charge of child abuse and will likely be taking her chances in a Florida courtroom.

In Florida, it is illegal for anyone to have sex with a minor under the age of 16. There is a close-in age proximity, commonly known as a “Romeo and Juliet” law that allows those up to the age of 23 to have sexual relations with someone 16 or 17. Since Hunt’s “victim” was below the age of 16, her actions were considered illegal. This story has soared to international notoriety, partly through garnering support from celebrities and athletes. The LGBT community has embraced Kaitlyn’s case and has paraded it around as matter of inequality. I won’t deny the fact that this case has roots in homosexuality, but it’s important to separate this criminal act from homosexuality. When a male has an intimate relationship with a female, we don’t see headlines proclaiming the man to be straight. The criminal case has nothing to do with Kaitlyn’s lesbianism. It’s a mistake for the gay community to be outspoken about this issue. Embracing Kaitlyn’s case has and will continue to hinder the fight for equality in America. The opposition is already using this case as ammunition against us. “The gay community is trying to legalize pedophilia, just like we predicted,” they say.

kaitlynhuntIf I said I didn’t feel sympathy towards Kaitlyn Hunt, I’d be lying. I do feel sorry for her. But first and foremost, it’s important to remember Kaitlyn Hunt broke the law. She committed a crime not because she’s a lesbian, but because her underage girlfriend cannot consent to physical intimacy.  People say the prosecutor is being heavy-handed because Hunt is a lesbian; they say the parents of the 14-year-old are homophobic. They say the 14-year-old’s parents should have solved the issue parent to parent instead of through the criminal justice system, but ultimately it is the choice of the minor’s parents to pursue criminal charges against Kaitlyn.

I’m disappointed in how so many people are using this as a platform for the gay community when we should really be steering clear of this case. Here is a sampling of the attention Kaitlyn’s case is getting in the LGBT and media circles.

– The online LGBT magazine, The Advocate used the following title for one of their news articles – “Florida Teen Facing Sex Offender Charge for Consensual Same-Sex Relationship” – This title is misleading and misinforming people. Florida states a minor can consent to sexual relationships once they turn 16 and their partner is 23 or younger. Children that are 15 and younger cannot consent to sexual contact, therefore Kaitlyn’s relationship cannot be consensual. Neal Broverman of The Advocate writes, “Florida Teen Arrested, Expelled for Same-Sex Relationship.” Andy Towle, a popular LGBT blogger wrote a blog post on Kaitlyn’s arrest using this misleading headline; “Girl Arrested and Expelled from High School Over Gay Relationship.” The liberal news outlet, Huffington Post announces, “Kaitlyn Hunt, Florida Teen, Faces Felony Charges Over Same-Sex Relationship.” Chris Hayes, liberal commentator on MSNBC said Kaitlyn Hunt’s case is an “LGBT injustice.” Radio host of the Michael Signorile Show on SiriusXM’s Out-Q channel, Michael Signorile also responded to an article stating this case is “outrageous” on Twitter.

Outrageous! —> Kaitlyn Hunt, Florida Teen, Faces Felony Charges Over Same-Sex Relationship huff.to/19QKZCI via @huffpostgay

— Mike Signorile (@MSignorile) May 19, 2013

Model and self-proclaimed LGBT activist, Colby Melvin tweeted a link to the above Huffington Post with this added commentary:

This is ABSURD! Kaitlyn Hunt, Florida Teen, Faces Felony Charges Over Same-Sex Relationship huff.to/19QKZCI @huffpostgay #equality

— Colby Melvin (@colbymelvin) May 21, 2013

This is a case of an adult having sex with a minor that cannot consent to a physically intimate relationship. This story is tarnishing the gay rights movement and setting it back. I am disappointed in the gay community and how they have reacted to this story and continue to do so.

If people believe the age of consent laws need to change, then I say more power to them. Don’t drag homosexuality into the mix where it doesn’t belong. Irrational anti-gay groups and individuals will continue to run away with the gay community’s unofficial public relations response to Kaitlyn Hunt’s case. They will plaster it all over the media in close battleground states proclaiming what they’ve argued about  is finally coming true. Conservative groups will proclaim gay people want undefined access to underage children and the only way we can combat this is by defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Take a step aside folks. If we continue to adopt Kaitlyn Hunt’s case as a gay rights issue and a matter of equality, then we had better man our battle stations, because the hurdles standing in our way towards true equality just got higher.