Reacting to some gay rights' activists' indulgence in a little schadenfreude over antigay baseball player Daniel Murphy's World Series whoopsie, conservative columnist Rod Dreher writes:
What if a Christian wrote that he was glad to see a sports team lose a national championship because the team includes an openly gay star athlete, and we cannot have people cheering for a homosexual? Would we not think that person was a petulant narcissist, and quite possibly a crackpot bigot? Could that person even hope to get a column like that published in a respectable publication?
Of course not.
Circular reasoning aside, well, let's consider the record.
Mostly, Dreher's "it can't happen because it has never happened" argument is largely derived from the monolithic culture of sports itself. Conservatives, almost without fail, have not had to indulge what so outrages Dreher. They have been able to rely on Big Sport to save them the trouble: to keep it from happening.
Last year, Will Leitch summed up the state of play:
Whenever an athlete is accused of being gay -- or even lightly rumored -- they tend to fall all over themselves asserting their heterosexuality. Mike Piazza, most famously, called a press conference to let the entire New York City beat reporter corps know that he dated women. Manti Te'o, when his deceptions about his fake dead girlfriend were revealed, was double-plus emphatic when asked by Katie Couric whether he was gay. Far from it. FAR from it!
And now there's [Packers QB Anton] Rodgers, who made sure he got an extra "really" in there to shoot down a rumor that he himself had just brought up. It is not enough for an athlete to say that he is not gay. He must make it absolutely clear -- to the guys in the locker room, to the radio bro interviewing him, to all the fans at Lambeau -- that it's the most absurd thing he's ever come across. That him being gay would cut the fabric of space and time. That the question would even come up is embarrassing to the very notion of questions, or words, or thoughts. The logical extension of one of these answers is for a player to say, "Look, if I could have sex with a woman in front of you right now just to show you, I would. I'll probably have sex with a woman the minute I'm away from you people. I wish I didn't have to answer these questions right now, not because I don't want to, but because it takes me away from my true passion, which is having sex with women. These are five minutes I could have spent having sex with a woman. Five minutes I can't get back."
The number of things that Aaron Rodgers could have been accused of by a random website that he wouldn't have felt compelled to comment on are too numerous to list. But this, this he felt like he had to clarify. In a chest-thumping, lookit, lookit, way. This had to be dealt with.
And in the rare cases where gay athletes have come out, plenty of respectable publications and media outlets have been willing to treat them as freaks.
When the NBA's Jason Collins came out, reactions included this:ESPN Sportscaster Chris Broussard said that Collins was not “a Christian” because of his sexual orientation: