FanDuel - WFBC

January 27, 2011

Lesbians in Athletics?: "He kept drilling that 'this would be a family,'" says the player, who asked not to be named. "'You should come here,' he said, 'because we're family-oriented.'"

posted by Demophon to basketball at 09:31 AM - 26 comments

By trying to exclude certain 'types' from your program, surely all you do is restrict the pool from which you can choose the best players. In the end, you lose on and off the court.

On a side note, I wish the bigots would stop using the word 'family' to mean only the ones they feel are 'right'. My 'family values' include a lesbian daughter, niece and ex-spouse. And we love each other deeply. Even the ex.

posted by owlhouse at 10:12 AM on January 27

Well said, owl.

posted by kokaku at 10:41 AM on January 27

The NCAA has a million stupid rules, but they can't have one that prohibits negative recruiting, or at least this type of discriminatory negative recruiting?

posted by bperk at 10:45 AM on January 27

often part of a consciously negative campaign targeted at another program

It's a business. You do what you have to do, or what you think you have to do.

posted by graymatters at 11:00 AM on January 27

I don't think the NCAA positions itself as a business.

posted by yerfatma at 11:21 AM on January 27

By trying to exclude certain 'types' from your program, surely all you do is restrict the pool from which you can choose the best players. In the end, you lose on and off the court.

All true, but when did that kind of reasoning ever stop a bigot? In the end, bigotry is always an exercise at shooting yourself in the foot. But "the end" is a long way off, in wishful thinking if not in reality. Bigotry panders to the desire of the majority and those in power to feel comfortable in the here and now. That's why a few hardcore bigots can usually get a passive majority to play along, or at least stand by and not interfere.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:03 PM on January 27

Same-sexers play sports at every level. Bigotry and denial keeps them closeted (until after retirement). Recall Howard Stern's Stuttering John asking Bill Parcells if there were gays in the NFL, and Parcells said no. Not one. Dave Kopay, former Packers and 49ers back, would take issue with that.

posted by afl-aba at 01:31 PM on January 27

I don't think the NCAA positions itself as a business.

Reality vs. perception (or what the NCAA hopes is the perception).

posted by graymatters at 02:48 PM on January 27

I don't think the NCAA positions itself as a business.

Then what woud you suggest they portray themselves as? Realistically, believably?

posted by Tinman at 03:51 PM on January 27

The NCAA has a million stupid rules, but they can't have one that prohibits negative recruiting, or at least this type of discriminatory negative recruiting?

I skimmed the article, and I don't think there was any program that was unambiguously and openly employing negative recruiting. Iowa State and UConn coaches were quoted as saying "family" is not negative recruiting or code for anything negative.

While I understand that family is employed as a homophobic code-word, it would be impossible to convince most Americans of this. It would be perceived as an extreme measure by the PC thought police.

posted by Aardhart at 06:07 PM on January 27

While I understand that family is employed as a homophobic code-word, it would be impossible to convince most Americans of this.

If the acceptance and agreement of most Americans had been the standard, we'd still have white-only drinking fountains.

With that said, the NCAA tends to follow the mainstream rather than lead it -- witness their long and well-documented struggle against Title IX both before and after its passage into law. Given that this sits firmly within their court, I expect that homophobic counter-recruiting will be given free rein until shit sticks to the moon.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:13 PM on January 27

"We are a family" is one of the most used cliches in team sports. How would you regulate it?

"Whites only" is not a code for racism. It is an express, overt, obvious invocation of racism.

posted by Aardhart at 06:37 PM on January 27

Do you believe there are no gays or lesbians playing basketball at Iowa State? Or any College? Homosexuality has been closeted for so long, especially at the high school and college age group, that unless the person in question is flaming, you would never know until the choice is made to LET you know. Why do you think so many gay people get married? It's all an illusion. A very real illusion. Until the stigma of being gay is lifted, people will continue to live their own lie. Kids can be cruel.

posted by scuubie at 08:15 PM on January 27

Homophobia, racism, sexism will all exist to some degree among the population. All the laws and regulations in the world will not change the minds and hearts of people. Such rules can only attempt to temper the effect of discrimination resulting from such mindsets. Maybe I missed it, but I did not notice in the story where it indicated that anyone was denied a scholarship or attendance at a school because of the perceived negative recruiting attributed to homophobia. Again, maybe I missed it.

posted by graymatters at 11:57 PM on January 27

I was trying to figure out how to say what I wanted to say, but I think graymatters has said it pretty well. The issue here is that teams are doing what they need to do to reach the players. If "family values" was not an issue to a significant segement of the girls being recruited or their families, then teams would stop pressing it. Incidentally, a story like this might continue to help bring these situations to the fore and move us a step closer to that day.

posted by bender at 09:07 AM on January 28

Aardhart:

"We are a family" is one of the most used cliches in team sports. How would you regulate it?

"Whites only" is not a code for racism. It is an express, overt, obvious invocation of racism.

So why are you comparing the two? I didn't. I simply pointed out that if progress waited on the "acceptance and agreement of most Americans" (your phrase), we'd still have whites-only water fountains. The ending of racial segregation didn't happen after the American public decided that all that discrimination stuff was nonsense.

graymatters:

Maybe I missed it, but I did not notice in the story where it indicated that anyone was denied a scholarship or attendance at a school because of the perceived negative recruiting attributed to homophobia. Again, maybe I missed it.

You didn't miss it because that wasn't the point. The point (and it is a lengthy article, but you really do have to read it to get the point) is that certain programs that either have no lesbians on the coaching staff (or none who can't pass the extremely-closeted-straight-looking-straight-acting sniff test) are using that as a recruiting tool. This has the effect of making it harder for lesbians to get coaching jobs, creates a hostile and intimidating atmosphere in some workplaces, and creates a disadvantage for those programs that are honest and accepting. In short, the bigots get to have their cake and eat it too. That's what you missed.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:57 AM on January 28

I don't think it would be futile to try catching schools that are using "family" as coded language in recruiting. People talk. A coach who would insinuate that a rival school's coach is a lesbian is going to slip up and reveal his or her bigotry more explicitly.

posted by rcade at 11:25 AM on January 28

lil_brown_bat:

So why are you comparing the two? I didn't.

Yes you did. You compared how to eliminate homophobia and homophobia-baiting in recruiting with how to eliminate segration and oppression on racial grounds. You introduced "white-only" into this thread.

"acceptance and agreement of most Americans" (your phrase),

No. No, it was not.

I wrote that it would be impossible to convince most Americans that family is employed as a homophobic code-word.

In short, the bigots get to have their cake and eat it too. That's what you missed.

(I realized that you addressed this comment to someone else, but I will address it anyways.)

I responded to a comment that implied that it could simply be addressed with a rule against negative recruiting. It is not that simple.

You imply that I endorse and apologize for homophobia-baiting recruiting. I do not. I just do not know how it can be addressed as long at it is disguised so well. I do not think eliminating "family" from recruiting language is advisable.

Although you have been condescending to me and other posters for not getting it to you satifaction, I do not think you expressed whether to punish recruiters who just use the family cliche (which the majority of the time is not homophobia-baiting, but probably is in the context in the article). Do you think the Iowa State coach should be punished for pushing "family" without any explicit expression of gay-bashing?

rcade:

So are you catching coaches that use "family" or those that "slip up and reveal his or her bigotry more explicit"?

posted by Aardhart at 12:16 PM on January 28

I think coaches who play word games with "family" would reveal themselves when they slip up elsewhere.

posted by rcade at 12:57 PM on January 28

Aardhart:

Yes you did. You compared how to eliminate homophobia and homophobia-baiting in recruiting with how to eliminate segration and oppression on racial grounds. You introduced "white-only" into this thread.

I introduced "white-only" into this thread, but I didn't compare how to eliminate homophobia and homophobia-baiting in recruiting with how to eliminate segration and oppression on racial grounds. I pointed out that waiting for everybody to think nice thoughts had not worked historically, so there was no reason to think it will in this case either.

I responded to a comment that implied that it could simply be addressed with a rule against negative recruiting.

The comment implied no such thing.

You imply that I endorse and apologize for homophobia-baiting recruiting.

No, I didn't.

I just do not know how it can be addressed as long at it is disguised so well. I do not think eliminating "family" from recruiting language is advisable.

And I didn't suggest doing so. As I've already stated, the NCAA has a bad track record on discrimination matters. Since the NCAA is the only organization that could even make an attempt at regulating recruiting language, even if that were the best way to tackle the problem, it would be like trusting the fox to guard the henhouse. But we can learn from history: there wasn't an easy way with racism, either. For every overtly racist expression or prohibition like "whites only", there were (and are) a hundred subtle ones. You can begin by calling it what it is. You can ask the question head-on: so, if a program has a lesbian coach, or lesbian players, why is that a problem? You can force people to either be silent in the face of that question, which takes away some of their power, or bring their bigotry into the open, when you can do something about it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:11 PM on January 28

lil_brown_bat: I'm not going to respond to any more comments from you. It is pointless for me to argue with someone who thinks college basketball should be whites only.

posted by Aardhart at 01:18 PM on January 28

That may be the most wildly inaccurate misread in the history of SportsFilter, Aardhart.

posted by rcade at 03:06 PM on January 28

No, no it's quite beautiful. True sarcasm at it's finest.

You both spent the entirety of thread defending yourself from positions you imagined the other was trying to pin on you. Deflecting the strawmen that weren't there.

It's like watching a professional blogging match; "the art of the cut-and-paste-debate".

And of course, you actually fucking agree about the larger picture.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:39 PM on January 28

professional blogging match

Not a sport

posted by tron7 at 06:15 PM on January 28

Simple solution to recruiting: Colleges can only send out standard form written material approved by the NCAA with only allowed substitution in form being the name of the college. No calls, no visits, nothing else. Eliminates any implicit discrimination by recruiters.

Also probably eliminates any ability of a recruit to make an informed decision on where to go, but a small price to pay for uniformity of thought.

posted by graymatters at 06:58 PM on January 28

A college that would recruit lesbians welcome, would probably be an undefeated, national champion for many many years. That's how you battle discrimination. Ask Jackie Robinson's family.

posted by scuubie at 08:04 AM on January 29

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