Oh ... sorry, scratch that headline, it was a lesbian basketball player. Never mind ... All right, let's try that again:
Lesbian Ho-Hummer: WNBA Star Says She's Playing for the Other Team.
Three-time Women's NBA most valuable player Sheryl Swoopes said:
"The talk about the WNBA being full of lesbians is not true. I mean, there are as many straight women in the league as there are gay.''
Got that? The WNBA is only 50% lesbian. That's not even a majority!
Now you might think that Swoopes's announcement that she turned lesbian six years ago would be denounced for promoting the "stereotype" that women's professional basketball is full of lesbians by the same sensitive souls who are denouncing Air Force Academy football coach Fisher DeBerry for promoting the "stereotype" that blacks tend to be faster runners.
But you would be wrong. In the final analysis, it's not what somebody says, but who says it that determines whether a statement will be celebrated or excoriated. Let me provide you with a helpful table so you too can understand the complex factors that enter into determining the reactions of sportswriters:
|Sheryl Swoopes||Fisher DeBerry|
See, being a modern sportswriter's not so complicated after all!
Sports, by its very nature, is politically incorrect because it all about inequality, determining who is superior to whom. So, sportswriters feel the need to lie about the big, obvious patterns we all notice in sports: e.g., that blacks tend to be faster runners; or that team sports appeal a lot to masculine men and masculine women, but not much to feminine women and feminine men. If they ever mentioned such horrible but true facts in their columns, the Earth would crash into the Sun.
The WNBA is a small-time league, with the maximum salary set at $89,000. The essential problem is that it appeals mostly to fans who are either lesbians (about 1% of the population) or the kind of guy fan who will watch anything. John Wooden, the 95-year-old former UCLA coach, likes watching women's basketball more than men's basketball these days because it reminds him of the (whiter) game of his early days. And considering the deterioration in the quality of the NBA over the last dozen years, he has a point. But the WNBA would benefit from using a smaller ball. (Their current ball is 1" less in the circumference than the NBA's ball, but the women need a significantly smaller ball, more like a volleyball, if they wanted to look less lame on the court.)
Lots of sportswriters are claiming that if we're lucky, this will encourage all those male homosexual jocks to come out of the closet. Swoopes herself said:
"What really irritates me is when people talk about football, baseball and the NBA, you don't hear all of this talk about the gay guys playing. But when you talk about the WNBA, then it becomes an issue. Sexuality and gender don't change anyone's performance on the court."
After all, they reason, we know that 10% of the population is homosexual, and there are thousands of famous male athletes, so there must be hundreds of closeted gay ones, right? That's simple math. You'd have to be a complete homophobe to dispute that.
Except it's not true.
It's fun to keep a list of some of the unlikely male athletes (e.g., Sandy Koufax, who has been married twice and currently lives with First Lady's college roommate) whom gays and sportswriters have claimed are homosexual. My favorite example is that frequent victim of rumors, Mets catcher Mike Piazza. The slugger has lived with about ten different lingerie models over the last decade. I have actually heard the argument made, "Well, that just shows how hard he's working to cover up his being gay. Why else would a man want to sleep with a lot of centerfolds? "
Piazza is also a metalhead whose obsession is playing heavy metal tunes on his electric guitar. Trust me, a guy whose favorite band is AC-DC isn't AC-DC himself.
Obviously, gays made up and spread the Piazza rumor just because they enjoy fantasizing about meeting Mike Piazza in a bathhouse someday.
But what about sportswriters, very few of whom are gay? These kind of stupid mistakes are made because journalists are supposed to assume that gays are exactly like straights in all ways except sexual orientation. Statistically, however, that's just not true. Male homosexuality correlates more or less with a long series of traits. In "Why Lesbians Aren't Gay" I listed about three dozen in which male and female homosexuals differ on average.
One big difference between straight and gay males is in the urge to become a professional athlete. Tragically, for about a decade we had a way to tell how many athletes in different sports were gay: the frankest indicator of the proportion of gay men in an occupation was the number of AIDS deaths in the 1982-1995 era.
Most of the occupations you'd assume to be heavily gay, such as Broadway chorographer and fashion designer, were decimated by AIDS in the 1980s and early 1990s, as was figure skating, where both Olympic male gold medallists from the 70s died of AIDS. Diving isn't as gay as figure skating but it's a lot gayer than football or golf, and, not surprisingly, the greatest diver of all time, Greg Louganis, is HIV infected.
Professional sports outside of figure skating suffered very few AIDS cases, typically one per major sport, except for boxing, where shooting heroin is a not uncommon way for old boxers to relieve the constant pain.
Despite having lots of sex with lots of women, virtually no prominent American athlete has contracted HIV heterosexually -- Magic Johnson is probably not an exception to that statement. The LA Times sports editor admitted that they had heard repeatedly that Magic was playing for both teams, but they decided to hush it up in the interests of promoting the idea that straights were just as likely to get AIDS as gays. But Magic's bisexuality is very much the exception that proves the rule about the NBA. So, the one time when the sports media had a chance to break a big news story -- and after Magic's AIDS announcement, it was definitely news -- about a true superstar of a male team sport not being completely heterosexual, it censored itself in order to promote political correctness!
The most interesting question raised by Swoopes is her contention that she wasn't born a lesbian (she used to be married and has an 8-year-old son). She claims she wasn't interested in women until she moved in with her assistant coach six years ago.
Now, that may sound politically incorrect to you -- after all, aren't we supposed to believe that homosexuality is genetic, not environmental, in origin. But, clearly, you haven't absorbed the lesson in the handy table above.
Seriously, I suspect that lesbianism is much more subject to cultural influences than is male homosexuality. In lots of times and places, lesbianism virtually didn't exist. In 19th Century Boston, for example, butch suffragettes would live together in "Boston marriages" and even sleep together, but, despite the frantic efforts of contemporary feminist academics to prove that they were doing the nasty, the weight of evidence suggests that it almost never even occurred to them.
A big question that nobody in our society wants to talk about is whether the enormous emphasis placed on team sports for girls these days makes them more likely to grow up to be lesbians.