Bil Browning

Why Athletes Don't Make Good Spokespeople

Filed By Bil Browning | June 16, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: David Tyree, marriage equality, National Organization for Marriage, NOM, NY Giants, TMZ

The National Organization for Marriage is trumpeting an interview they did with Super Bowl hero David Tyree. Tyree is, obviously, anti-marriage equality. He's famous for catching a Super Bowl pass with his helmet.

Everyone's favorite truth-challenged religious right nutjobs are even heralding all the attention its gotten by listing all sorts of websites picking up on it and showing it. Sites like Politico, ESPN, and, OMG!, TMZ!! Let's see what they have to say about it!! From TMZ:

And the kicker, Tyree -- who's black -- says, "How can marriage be marriage for thousands of years and now all the sudden because a minority, an influential minority, has a push or agenda ... and totally reshapes something that was not founded in our country."

FYI -- Tyree's statement comes almost 44 years to the day after interracial marriage was legalized in the United States ... thanks, in part, to the agenda of an influential minority.

Doh! You know, that's the thing with ignorance and prejudice. They tend to go hand in hand.

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See, I think this is an interesting bit of duplicity.

When Tyree comes out against marriage equality, we equate him to be being a big, dumb, stupid athlete.

When Michael Strahan comes out for marriage equality, we praise him for being an amazing person. How should Strahan feel if he caught wind of any of the athlete-based comments launched at Tyree? Should he feel that our praise of him for coming out for marriage equality was disingenuous? Is the idea here that Strahan is a good spokesman DESPITE being an athlete? Or that when we praised him, we never really meant it?

I recognize that this duplicity isn't unique to us. When a big person is pro-LGBT, they're amazing and gorgeous and fierce. When they're anti-LGBT, they're an ugly fatass who needs to lay off the fast food because they'll never get laid looking like that. When a religious person is anti-LGBT, they're a religious fanatic and their text is all horseshit and magic anyway. When they're pro-LGBT, they have an amazing spirituality and understand the message of a true loving God. When they're an anti-LGBT straight woman, they're a bitch or a cunt. When they're pro-LGBT, they're a fierce diva.

We JUST got past calling anti-LGBT black people examples for why blacks are so homophobic. DMC just did a NOH8 ad. If 50-Cent does an ad with NOM, will we suddenly turn around and say "this is why hip-hop artists shouldn't be spokespeople"?

Why not cut the bull and just deride or praise people for the ideas the represent instead of attributing criticism or praise because of their race/gender/sexuality/physical appearance/weight/occupation/faith/hair/favorite color? It'll save use time from looking fickle and two-faced.

I'm afraid I have to agree with luminum, Bil -- associating athleticism with stupidity is just as much perpetrating stereotypes as is associating gay males with effeminacy. (Of course, some athletes are stupid, and some gay men are effeminate -- that does not wipe out the bigotry and condescension that is intrinsic within the stereotype, however.)

Once again, a conservative fails to see the divide between religious marriage and civil marriage -- and he is wrong, civil marriage was founded in this country: it was founded anew every time a new state passed its own set of marriage laws.

california panda | June 16, 2011 11:54 PM

Duplicity or not, if the "church" had had it's way inter-racial marriage would still not exist. Religious fundamentalism and civil rights do not play well together. One can be educated and ignorant/bigoted at the same time. We see it all the time in out legislators, school officials, bureaucrats, and even in our supreme court. All it takes is an agenda or belief that equality is a myth and the will to act on that belief.

I agree. So what does it have to do with him being an athlete?

Exactly. So let's quit hatin' on the person and focus the debate on his ideas -- which admittedly are rather simplistic and not very analytical, yet millions think along such lines.

... and they aren't all athletes.

You are certainly correct when you say "Religious fundamentalism and civil rights do not play well together" -- and the reason for this is that the Church (and by that I mean all faiths that dominate a particular geographic region) does not have the same concept of the individual that modern secular governments do.

Under the law, we are all equal and sovereign over our own life (not absolutely, but to a large degree); but in the eyes of the Church, we are all sinners and submissive to God, and therefore also submissive to the Church -- or at least that's what the church leaders claim. It's a centuries-old power grab, and there has always been a tug of war between the Church and the secular government -- in southern Europe, you can trace it all the way back to Constantine, at least.

I read some articles in the Times this AM on the SS marriage issue there (personally, I don't think it has a chance at all, but we'll see), one of which was about the poor, ignored oppostion, which seemed to all be religious ppl and orgs.

And they just didn't understand how their rights could be so ignored, and how that they weren't welcomed by the pro-SS-marriage legislators. How that the governor and the legislators could even begin to go against their religious beliefs! That is, their religious beliefs in completely discriminating against ppl, and calling them immoral and deviant.

The hatred and bigotry were front and center, and the religious folks just couldnt see it, even though it was in the very name of some groups (one was something like Torah Jews for decency). One of my faves was the non-denominational group that was worried b/c they weren't affiliated with a national denomination and were afraid they wouldn't be covered under the already massive religious exemption. Their name was something like Saving Families, though that's not quite it. Whatever it was, it the kind of title that right-wing religious groups use, and was to me at least, obviously based on fundamentalist religious dogma.

In the end, the things the right-wingers demand and the way they cast their rhetorical is so like the racists of 50 years ago to me. Just replace a few terms, and it's the same situation. And yet these ppl openly and unabashedly are broadcasting these views out in public, and wonder why they aren't embraced.

Um, which church are you talking about? Because my denomination wouldn't be. Nor would many others, including conservative churches. If you don't want people to make sweeping generalizations about us, why make them about others?

Gaytorguy | June 18, 2011 2:58 PM

If a group, any group, can find someone who has their 15 minutes of fame and mass recognition espouse their point of view, they will use them. Actor/actress, athlete, musician, whomever for whatever. On that we can agree.
If that spokesperson is espousing something you disagree with, they are denigrated in some way, usually. So, the athlete is dumb, stupid, whatever.
If they espouse something you agree with. Well, they are smart, eloquent, brilliant!
Just face the fact, if no one but a few knew this man. And if he espoused his beliefs. No one would care. But he has some recognition value, so, his beliefs are out there. And as such, he is lauded, applauded, derided, lambasted. Depending on your view(s) and his view(s).
George Carlin once stated in a routine asking did we ever notice that someone who drives slower than you is an idiot? Or faster than you they are a maniac? But if they drove like you they were an excellent driver?
To me, this is a man, who I guess is an athlete because of the video shown, who believes marriage is for a man and a woman. Unfortunately, he doesn't know or remember he was discriminated against marrying outside his race. Maybe he doesn't even consider marriage outside his ethnicity? So, his belief and non-knowledge does not make him anything than less informed and not ideologically similar in a certain reference.
It is his opinion and belief, that is all. Some other "celebrity du jour" will speak something I agree with. Then they will be a person with a wide audience to whom I agree upon. And someone else will disagree. I hope that person who disagrees just realizes it is that celebrity's belief and opinion. And not denigrate them for it.