Social Question

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

Why are so many sports seen as being homophobic?

Asked by TheProfoundPorcupine (2512 points ) November 30th, 2012

There was an article posted online today in the UK about homosexuals in soccer and the absolute lack of guys that are openly gay. It mentioned how in the last 20 years only two have come out, but the main theme in the article, which came from an ex-professional, was that the players would be fine with it, but it is the crowds that are the problem.

The point being made was that the player would need to put up with so much abuse from the stands that it would be too much for them so they keep quiet about their sexuality until they retire.

The question is, why would there be such a reaction? Is it a mob mentality? Are sports one of the last major barriers to be broken down in this way?

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24 Answers

Shippy's avatar

I’d say yes, I can’t say too much but here one of our major sports we have someone who is hiding he is gay. I know this since he is having an affair with a gay guy friend of mine. The thinking behind this is so hard to fathom. Are they afraid they can’t kick the ball straight (sorry no pun intended).

ucme's avatar

It’s not the sports as such, more the tribal mentality of the fans, the moronic minority anyway.
Back in the eighties, Justin Fashanu came out, all be it belatedly & admitted that the culture in football back then made it impossible to be open about his sexuality.
I know there are gay football teams, semi-pro, here’s hoping the elite players will be integrated into the professional ranks as soon as possible.
The homophobic fans, along with the racist ones, can remain in the gutter where they belong.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The answer to the post may be simply that many still view homosexual behavior with stereotypical effeminate men.

digitalimpression's avatar

Sports and homophobia have not a modicum of measure between them. If a player puts up with abuse from the stands and cries about it, he’s probably not meant to play. Just sayin…

Kardamom's avatar

Just like the fact that racism is still alive and well (although people can fake like they aren’t a racist a little more easily these days) so is homophobia. I can just hear the people in the stands thinking or shouting, “I think it’s fine what people do in their own bedrooms, but I just don’t want any fags in the locker room or playing sports, because those gay guys just aren’t tough enough or manly enough to play sports. But I’m not homophobic, I just don’t want any dudes trying to touch me and I sure don’t want to have it shoved down my throat by watching them touch other dudes on the field!”

Figure skating seems to be one of the few sports where being gay is not only accepted, it’s kind of assumed, even if the male skater isn’t gay.

bookish1's avatar

I think @Kardamom‘s got it here. I think it’s in large part because of the conflation of sexual practice and gender.

What do you mean ‘not tough’? They fuck men. That’s hardly gay! (NSFW)

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@digitalimpression If a gay man plays professional sports and is ridiculed for his sexuality, he has every right to “cry” about it—to use your word. Just the word “cry” drips with condescension. After all, boys don’t cry and all that.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Sports are where masculinity gets performed. The only acceptable masculinity in society is linked to a hetero sexuality. Gay doesn’t fit into this model. But the mob mentality aspect of it, the group-ness of it doesn’t help. Masculinity gets validated via group think as well and threats to it must be prevented and kept out.

Kardamom's avatar

Another thing I thought of is that homophobic men would feel really un-comfortable rooting for a gay guy, because they might think that if they are showing affection or loyalty to a player, who happens to be gay, then people might think that they are gay too.

I know it’s stupid, but that’s how people are.

And that’s why I love figure skating, you don’t have to deal with all of this shite. Plus you can’t tell me that Phillipe Candeloro, Victor Petrenko, Mark Ladwig, Kurt Browning, Elvis Stoyko, David Peltier, John Coughlin or the late Sergei Grinkov aren’t manly enough.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Carry on. I’m flying off to see a musical. :-)

Shippy's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Well hardly, what if you are a female? You going to be masculine too?

woodcutter's avatar

How many is many? Soccer? A sport where they riot and burn down the stands isn’t a good example to use when expecting civility, just sayin.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I always assumed all soccer players are gay.

I don’t know about you guys, but I have never run towards another man to hug and kiss him in celebration, because of something I did related to “balls” and “scoring”.

woodcutter's avatar

ah that endorphine rush

Bellatrix's avatar

This is a comment piece from a former, very high profile footballer in Australia. In it he explains why he feels footballers should stay in the closet. He got a lot of flack about it. Why is sport so homophobic? I really don’t know and this article doesn’t really explain, it just confirms it and explains at least one player’s feelings about his homosexual team mates being openly gay. Perhaps they are terrified that if they are openly accepting of homosexuality, people will say they are gay? Although I don’t get why that should matter.

I think until society as a whole grows up and just accepts homosexuality as being as much of a non-event as having brown eyes, I doubt the attitudes in very masculine fields of sport are unlikely to change.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

@woodcutter There are examples from a number of other sports. Gareth Thomas was the captain of the Wales rugby squad, but he only revealed he was gay basically as he retired, John Amaechi (Orlando Magic, New York Knicks, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets) became the very first ex-NBA star to come out as being gay after he retired and that is just two examples that come to mind right away.

Coloma's avatar

I dunno….maybe in the traditional, hardcore, machismo dominated areas such as football, but….seems to me these are the minority.
Soccer, football, baseball, ice hockey, however, what about gymnastics, swimming, skiing, ice skating, competitive equine sports like jumping, eventing/jockeys, etc.?
I think there are many more sports that do not carry any homophobic vibes than there are those that do.

cheebdragon's avatar

Would they do the whole “good job” patt on the butt thing, if they were really that homophobic?

bookish1's avatar

@cheebdragon, Homoerotic environments and homophobia are quite compatible!

Coloma's avatar

Now all can think about is a super hot guy in breeches, boots, a sexy jacket with tails and a riding helmet on some monster athletic Warmblood. lol
Oooh baby, gay or otherwise give me a fine man sitting on a fine horse and we can ride together. lol

digitalimpression's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I’m sorry but if you cry in football you don’t need to be there. I don’t care what sexual orientation you prefer. The condescension is most definitely there.. but it isn’t toward homosexual people.. it is toward people who can’t get a scrape on their arm without crying to mommy.

Persecution complex doesn’t suit you.

ucme's avatar

I think the masculine environment falls flat on it’s face with the introduction of two little words….David Beckham.

woodcutter's avatar

It could be that most hetero athletes are not comfortable with gay athletes using the same shower facilities they are using and the gay athletes realize this so they keep things on the down low.

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