Alex Blaze

Why'd Mr. Hardaway have a fit?

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 15, 2007 9:55 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Bible, Eddie Murphy, John Amaechi, locker room, misogyny, shavlik randolph, sports, tim hardaway

Well, if you've checked out the gay media at all today, you've seen the remarks made by Tim Hardaway today concerning John Amaechi's coming out. Of course, it's all about the locker room:

If you have 12 other ballplayers in your locker room that's upset and can't concentrate and always worried about him in the locker room or on the court or whatever, it's going to be hard for your teammates to win and accept him as a teammate.
One has to wonder about what Hardaway's so worried about in the locker room, why no one could concentrate. It can't be sexual assault or any action - it's a room filled with professional athletes, there's little chance that could happen. It has to be the age-old fear that a gay man will look at other people in the locker room. (I am writing this post about the male locker room situation and men being checked out, mainly because I don't have much experience in the female locker room. It's inherently incomplete because of that.)

Of course, it's more than just the locker room, it's just about everywhere. That famous homophobic Eddie Murphy bit was about worrying about gay men looking at him sexually (or at all, it's unclear) while on-stage. I imagine that it was also the root cause of the inexplicable huss-fuss over Ham looking at Noah naked when he (Noah) got drunk after the flood. So bad was this locker room situation that Noah said:

Cursed be Canaan [the nation Ham was to found]!
The lowest of slaves
will he be to his brothers."

While I'm generally all for people's right to privacy, one has to wonder what these people are worried about when they make the choice to appear in such non-private places and gay men might be present. What's so bad about being looked at, so bad that they think that others' careers should be destroyed or that hate speech should be thrown around or that a man's entire progeny and all his descendents should be condemned to slavery?

Because, straight up, there's nothing wrong with being respectably looked at. A gay man in Eddie Murphy's audience who actually looks at him while he's performing isn't doing anything out of line. And if he think's Eddie has a nice ass, that's a compliment for Eddie. The locker room may be a little trickier, but really, a body's a body, and if someone sees it, big deal.

I wonder how much of it is taken as actually having participated in a sex act. Shavlik Randolph (the Philadelphia 76ers' forward) said he was OK with gay people "as you don't bring your gayness on me". Looking at a straight man is bringing your gayness on him.

Why isn't there a problem with women looking at these men? I think that our culture has built up an idea that women are looked at and men do the looking. For a gay man to check out a straight man means that the straight man has been made passive, and, by extension, for them, made feminine.

I guess what I'm getting at is that the comments by Hardaway, while undeniably homophobic, are misogynistic as well. For him to have a problem with being put in a feminine position he would have to think that there's a problem with being feminine in the first place.

Because other than there, I really can't understand why he threw such a fit on that radio show.


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Allen J. Lopp | February 15, 2007 11:32 PM

Alex, you got very close, but did not quite reach the crux of the matter: Men sexually objectify women, but they are threatened and become defensive if someone objectifies them.

Ergo: "If I enjoy oogling at those hot bitches, then that gay man oogling me must be wanting to turn me into his bitch."

Forgive my language, but it shows just how ugly and pseudo-violent such attitudes are.

OTOH, there is indeed the matter of civility: whether a man looks at a woman, or a man looks at another man, it is possible to visually "rape" someone by staring at them unrestrainedly or checking them out again and again and again. Needless to say, whether one is gay or straight, true gentlemen do not do such things.

Funny thing is they don't seem to mind female sports casters checking them out in the locker room while the preen and prance around. Then again I guess they feel that all female sports casters are strictly 100% pro and would never check them out.

My point is, whether he likes it or not more than likely some of his team mates over the years were gay and homophobic as he is wouldn't he have known that he was being "checked out"?

Or is there actually more to his feelings about gays that he is willing to admit to himself????? Remember, the dog with the loudest bark usually has the most to hide.....

Allen hit it right on the head. If a man bases his fear of gays in the locker room on what his own behavior would be in a women's locker room, that says far more about his attitudes toward women than it does about the gay guys he has already dressed and showered with unaware--unaware because those gay guys have been able to coexist with him without violating his personal boundaries. Amazing, huh.