FanDuel - WFBC

August 13, 2010

Gay umpire's ordeal shows sad state of sports: Jason Whitlock writes about Billy Van Raaphorst, an openly gay NCAA umpire who was taunted about his sexuality during an independent league game by Edmonton Capitals manager Brent Bowers.

posted by wfrazerjr to general at 11:26 PM - 19 comments

Sitting here reading this while staying with some gay friends on vacation. They're less than shocked, sadly.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:17 AM on August 14

Well, that was a surprising read. That guy was in my 4th year Spanish class in high school.

posted by LionIndex at 02:12 AM on August 14

Good column, and good on the other umpires for supporting him.

posted by rodgerd at 03:12 AM on August 14

There are too many Brent Bowers-types in sports. Too bad it takes something like Bowers' meltdown to winnow them out.

posted by roberts at 08:16 AM on August 14

IMO The most important part of this story is..... "You can't conceal skin color in a closet or anywhere else. Denying gay people the right to marry doesn't equate to denying black people freedom, the right to vote, equal education, etc.

But I am not a fool. Discrimination is discrimination. Debating degrees of intolerance is pointless and counter-productive."

When are people going to realize that it doesn't matter who people are, or what other people are doing. Focus on being the best person YOU can be

posted by scuubie at 08:37 AM on August 14

Wow. I don't buy Bowers' contrition, since he's never managed to have the guts to apologize directly to Van Raaphorst. But it's nice that the umps forced the issue until his joke suspension became a well-deserved resignation.

I wish Whitlock had been comfortable simply decrying this bigotry, instead of qualifying it with the notion that anti-gay prejudice is less important than racial prejudice. I guess he thinks he's helping persuade some people who take one seriously and dismiss the other.

posted by rcade at 09:59 AM on August 14

Agreed, rcade. His comments were empty words: "My mom works with a lot of gay hairdressers and I joke around with those guys all the time. My cousin, she's a lesbian."

We've heard the line: Some of our best friends are (fill in with race, ethnicity, nationality ...).

posted by jjzucal at 10:06 AM on August 14

The analogy comparing black people's fight for equal rights and gay people's makes me uncomfortable.

You can't conceal skin color in a closet or anywhere else. Denying gay people the right to marry doesn't equate to denying black people freedom, the right to vote, equal education, etc.

Wow. I wonder if Whitlock feels the same about bigotry against Jews or Muslims. They can hide who they are too. And he says this at the very beginning of the article. Is he a columnist or a politician trying to appease his anti-gay readers?

posted by cjets at 10:37 AM on August 14

It's not even that, though, it's "Some of my mom's best friends are gay."

Weak sauce.

posted by Jugwine at 10:38 AM on August 14

Even if Bowers was good at apologizing and shared his home with a platonic gay roommate who had received part of his liver, I would not buy his apology. You don't do what he did unless you have a real hatred of gays. It's like Mel Gibson. Anger management problems don't turn unbigoted people into raging bigots. One slip of the tongue, maybe. A torrent of comments and the bend-over gesture? Bowers never got over Will and Grace replacing his favorite sitcom.

posted by rcade at 11:56 AM on August 14

Wow. I wonder if Whitlock feels the same about bigotry against Jews or Muslims. They can hide who they are too. And he says this at the very beginning of the article. Is he a columnist or a politician trying to appease his anti-gay readers?

He's writing for Fox, which means he either doesn't have the clues or is deliberately ignoring them -- you pick which. He as much as says that marriage equality is the only civil rights issue that gays and lesbians face. If he truly believes that, he's a moron; if he knows better and is cynically playing the disingenuous Foxtard me-dumb-jock role as a tactic to create an excellent strawman to knock down, he deserves to be shown up for the bigot he is.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:36 PM on August 14

I believe he may be saying gays have not at this point been removed from their homelands and forced into slavery.

Which, while I think it's a pretty stupid argument to make, still would kind of trump the issues facing gays and lesbians.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:05 AM on August 15

Which, while I think it's a pretty stupid argument to make, still would kind of trump the issues facing gays and lesbians.

I'm trying to figure out what you're saying here, Fraze. Either it's a "stupid argument", or it "trump[s] the issues facing gays and lesbians" -- issues that Whitlock has clearly demonstrated his ignorance of. So which is it? My own view is that it's a "stupid argument" to compare something you (allegedly) know with something that you clearly don't, but I may be in the minority on this. Certainly a great many heterosexuals seem to believe that they know plenty about the situation of gays today, which is odd considering how shocked so many of these knowledgeable straight people are when an incident like this happens. You'd think they'd be less surprised when reality rears its head, if they really knew all about it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:11 AM on August 15

I don't like Jason Whitlock at all. Still, I'm glad he brought attention to this story, even if I totally disagree with him. Everyone is not one step away or capable of being a bigot. That's something that bigots tell themselves to feel better about themselves.

One big difference between discrimination based on sexual orientation and discrimination based on race or religion is that discrimination based on sexual orientation is still legal throughout the country. Gay people can still be denied job, houses, and refused services based on their sexual orientation.

posted by bperk at 10:33 AM on August 15

Amazing how eventually the comments became about the author of the story rather than the story itself!

posted by graymatters at 12:08 PM on August 15

Whitlock is an idiot. This isn't a worthwhile debate and only serves to be counterproductive. How do you compare discrimination? Anyway, overall I think the whole thing is moot. Gay marriage is inevitable because banning it simply can't pass the constitutional smell test. We're not even debating it anymore where I'm from. It's clearly a right, and a right that requires recognition from the state.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:59 PM on August 15

The argument can do both, LBB.

If Whitlock is saying the issues faced by blacks trump those faced by gays and lesbians, I agree with him. Slavery, forced relocation and very public lynching is a pretty tough trio to top.

However, it's a stupid argument to make because, as Weedy said, the comparison doesn't do anything except appear to trivialize one side or the other.

I've met Jason Whitlock and found him to be engaging, open and bright. I just think he left out the last one here.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:57 PM on August 15

Wasn't Matthew Shepard murdered not all that long ago for being gay? And right here in the Bay Area, of all places, a boy was killed a few years back when it came out he was transexual. While the number of people murdered for homosexuality isn't close to the number murdered for the color of their skin, it does mean that gay people know it can still happen to them.

As for the article I applaud Whitlock for writing about the incident and the team for canning Bowers.

However Bowers is a moron who definitely needs that diversity training.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:54 PM on August 15

If Whitlock is saying the issues faced by blacks trump those faced by gays and lesbians, I agree with him. Slavery, forced relocation and very public lynching is a pretty tough trio to top.

It is, but you seem to be comparing these historical crimes with the situation of gays today. It's not to diminish the history and impact of slavery, but if Whitlock wants to compare his own situation as an African-American with the situation of a contemporary gay person, I don't think "slavery, forced relocation and very public lynching" are going to play a part.

For what it's worth, I've always found competitions for who (or whose ancestors) was persecuted the worst to be singularly pointless. My point was simply that so-called "gay marriage" is the only issue concerning gays that Whitlock cites. Leaving aside the not-so-small matter of the unwounded Whitlock jesting at that particular scar, he is apparently unaware that civil rights for gays in the United States on such fundamental matters as housing, employment and education is a piecemeal thing at best.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:03 PM on August 15

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