I am a devoted listener of the BS Report podcast that ESPN’s Bill Simmons hosts. I check his website, The Sports Guy’s World, every day or so to see if what new articles or podcasts have been posted. That’s only if I happen to miss the updates he posts on his twitter feed. Or don’t run across his links on ESPN.com. I’m slightly obsessed.
Anyway, today’s BS Report (which you should download by visiting the link I just made and follow instructions like “click here” and “listen”) guest was LZ Granderson, a fellow ESPN and CNN columnist. Granderson is also an openly gay personality writing about sports, which are not known for being very tolerant of gay people. His articles are always good and never overtly concerning sexuality, even in a sporting landscape that seems to make it necessary to constantly defend his lifestyle.
Its a great conversation, but I latched onto one specific segment. Granderson said that John Amaechi is a thoughtful, intelligent and observant ex-athlete who is eminently qualified to be a studio, or courtside analyst. The obvious context is that he isn’t getting a chance to continue his career in sports because he’s gay. He’s probably right, and I couldn’t help but think how big of a shame that was.
Then I got to thinking… Would I listen to John Amaechi? Of course. Then… Would I listen to John Amaechi and not judge him based on his sexuality while watching a big game with my friends?
I would. But thinking about like that made me realize that maybe the executives who make those decisions know a lot more about how tolerant we are than the politically correct pundits know.
So, back to the title. Would you listen to John Amaechi? If he was good, I’d appreciate both his skill and his courage. I’ll appreciate it even more when we don’t have to appreciate his courage.