Jason Collins becomes the first pro athlete in a major US team sport to 'come out'
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04-30-2013, 06:33 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Originally Posted by
I don't think it was ever really a problem with teammates that would prevent players from coming out. They are professionals after all, this is their jobs, and even homophobic athletes would put their feelings aside to do their jobs.
The worry was always fan reactions, especially in conservative cities/sports cultures. I think the MLB is going to have the most trouble with gay athletes, considering the conservative, history-centered culture of MLB fandom that contrasts with the urban and diverse NBA fanbase, NFL's all-cross-sections of America fanbase, and the wealthy/educated/Canadian NHL fanbase. MLB has the oldest fans as well as a strong following among paleo-conservatives as an element of "traditional American culture".
The NBA's is obviously the most skewed towards voting Democratic, but that's also because the NBA fanbase has the highest percentage of black fans, which doesn't mean homophobia is out of the question (though black America is reaching that great awakening period when it comes to homophobia, thanks to Obama and some religious leaders).
NHL fanbases are skewed Republican because most American NHL fans are well-off white people, and well-off white people tend to vote Republican. That doesn't mean they're homophobic, but there were always plenty of homophobic preppies when I was growing up and they also liked hockey.
Baseball's bang smack in the middle. Its fans are older and nostalgic, but they also live in cities (baseball's an urban game, always has been), usually cities near the coasts or in the more liberal upper Midwest, and tend to be well-educated. MLB also has a very strong share of the Latino market, which will pull its fans back towards the political center.
The NFL is a little to the right of it, probably due to the war imagery it uses so often or the violence in the game. As a lefty myself it turns me off the game sometimes and I would guess there are a higher percentage of female baseball fans than female football fans. NFL fans are a little bit less affluent than baseball's, which is why they're a little bit less likely to vote.
College football appears to be the likeliest candidate for homophobic fans, and that passes the smell test for me. Drunk students and grown men who take amateur sports way too seriously in socially conservative areas like the South would be a perfect candidate for the kind of bigoted taunting we all fear. They would be hell if they found out the other team's quarterback had a boyfriend. College fans pull immature crap all the time, so there's really no doubt they would be capable of doing something very homophobic.
Edit: also, paleo-conservative baseball fans? Like who? George Will? I can't think of any other prominent paleo who professes to really like baseball.
Last edited by HabsByTheBay: 04-30-2013 at
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