Not everyone wishes Jason Collins well, including Dallas radio host Chris Krok

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When Jason Collins come out Monday as the first openly gay man on an American professional team sport, his well-wishers included everyone from Mark Cuban to Kobe Bryant to Steve Nash.

But not everyone was so encouraging.

As could have been predicted, FoxNews and its affiliates are among the least supportive — and downright hateful. Media Matters reported that on Monday, when the Collins story was breaking news, FoxNews devoted less than 10 minutes to the story, while MSNBC spent nearly half an hour on it and CNN more than 40 minutes.

But it doesn’t end there.

FoxNews reporter Todd Starnes tweeted sarcastic, inane and condescending blasts at Collins. Among them: “Remember when professional athletes were judged on their athletic prowess — and not who they bedded?” (ummm … since when have basketball players’ private lives been out-of-bounds, especially when they date famous models, singers and actresses?); “The NBA is turning into GLEE” (ummm … if you wanna judge athletes by abilities only, why be so rude about one openly gay player?); and “Have any professional athletes announced they are heterosexual today?” (ummm … yes, Todd, on a daily basis — every time they talk about their wives and girlfriends).

Locally, it’s just as bad.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Mark Cuban hopes Jason Collins is ‘first of many’ pro athletes to come out

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In case you’ve been offline for the last several hours, NBA center Jason Collins on Monday became the first active male athlete in a major American professional sport to come out as gay.

“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay,” Collins writes in Sports Illustrated (above). “I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”

Upon hearing the news, I immediately fired off an email to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, a longtime supporter of the LGBT community whom I first interviewed about the subject in 2007.

“Any thoughts on Jason Collins?” I wrote to Cuban this morning. “Are you surprised? Do you think this will create a domino effect of other pro athletes coming out? Would you consider signing him if he fit the Mavs’ needs?”

“I think he is a pioneer,” Cuban responded. “I would have no problem signing Jason if he fits our needs. I hope this is the first of many such announcements.”

—  John Wright

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

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It’s a busy, exciting weekend in Dallas — especially for the gays! First off, our Spring Sports Issue is on the stands, with cool stories about the lesbian tennis group Sets in the City and the newest gay rugby team. And that comes right on the heels of Mavs owner Mark Cuban giving the gays a shout-out on Fox Sports. Just after Magic Johnson endorsed the idea of an openly gay player in Los Angeles, Cuban said he’d be “honored” to have the first out player in Dallas. Read about it here.

That’s just some of the fun, though. At the premiere of the Dallas International Film Festival this week, artistic director James Faust bragged to me that he programmed this year’s seventh annual event with lots of gay content in mind. It starts this afternoon at 4:15 p.m. at the Angelika, with Del Shores in attendance for the screening of the film Cry, in which he has a featured acting role. It gets even gayer next week with the local debuts of Ash Christian’s gay rom-com Petunia with Michael Urie, Yen Tan’s Pit Stop and Laurence Anyways on Monday, and the David Sedaris comedy C.O.G. and the gay doc God Loves Uganda on Wednesday. Check out the full schedule here. And I’ll be blogging reviews during the fest, so come back! For music lovers, recording artist Frankie will be performing her new single three more times in Dallas this weekend, with appearances tonight at Plush at 11:30 p.m., then another an hour later at 12:30 a.m. at the Round-Up Saloon, plus another late-night performance on Saturday at 11:30 p.m. inside the Rose Room. Or you can check out gay artist Owen Pallett at the Palladium Saturday, with gay band Grizzly Bear, pictured, also on the bill.

In theater, you still have a chance to see John Michael and the Order of the Penix, a one-man performance piece at the Magnolia Lounge that’s pretty damn fearless. You also definitely need to catch Rx, the new hilarious comedy about love and other drugs courtesy of Kitchen Dog Theater. Once again, Tina Parker delivers a not-to-miss performance. And Uptown Players’ latest cross-dressing spoof, Re-Designing Women, opens for a seven-week run at the Rose Room, with author Jamie Morris in the role of Julia Sugarbaker.

The stage musical of Priscilla Queen of the Desert doesn’t open in Dallas until next month, but you can get a sneak peek of sorts. On Saturday from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Dallas Summer Musicals and the Cupcakery on McKinney Avenue team up for a taste competition with three local drag queens on hand for an event called Priscilla Queen of the Desserts. You can even win tickets to the show. And if you’re really interested in desserts on Saturday, there’s still time to attend the No Tie Dinner, a benefit for AIDS Services of Dallas, at the Frontiers of Flight Museum starting at 7 p.m.

A final option for foodies: Dishcrawl, a national movement where you get to know your culinary choices within a given neighborhood, debuts in Dallas with the Uptown Crawl on Sunday, with eight restaurants (among them, Meso Maya Uptown, Pop Diner and Momo’s) participating. Proceeds benefit the North Texas Food Bank. Tickets are $40 in advance or $45 on-site.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Mark Cuban wonders if he’s a homophobe

Cuban emphatically states his case.

Dan Devine over at the Ball Don’t Lie sports blog reported earlier today on Mark Cuban’s comment yesterday to “The Sports Guy” Bill Simmons for a recording of the podcast The B.S. Report. Winding down the weekend’s MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Simmons and Cuban engaged in conversation of The KissCam which apparently took an awkward turn. From Ball Don’t Lie:

And then, as Carly Carioli of the Boston Phoenix wrote in a blog post accompanying an excellent feature story on the conference, “the atmosphere turned even weirder.”

… Cuban began telling the story of how he’d almost fired a Mavs employee for encouraging Dallas fans to do the wave. Cuban hates the wave. “I’d rather have 60 minutes of Kiss Cam,” he said, to laughs. Simmons has long been on record as being a fan of the Kiss Cam [...] and piped up in favor of it. “I like the Kiss Cam,” Simmons said.

“That’s because you and your boyfriend are always on it,” Cuban spat.

Chances are, if you’ve read or listened to content created by Bill Simmons over the past seven years, you’ve caught wind of the fact that he’s married to a woman, and that the two of them have children. Not that those things would, or do, preclude a man from also liking men and/or having boyfriends, but, y’know, for the record, there’s been no public indication that Bill Simmons is gay.

Devine later goes on to criticize Cuban’s remark as adolescent. By all accounts, it appears The Boston Phoenix’s Carly Carioli was first on the scene with this post, labeling the remark homophobic. Gay sports site OutSports labeled it distasteful.

Cuban posted this today in Blog Maverick explaining his side. From Cuban:

I made a mistake in making the comment. I wasn’t trying to be hurtful. It wasn’t a comment on anyone’s sexuality. It was just me trying to be funny. It wasn’t. I quickly realized it and tried to fix it. I hoped at the time I didn’t offend anyone.

This blog post is not about trying to defend what I said. I’m not trying to defend my sense of humor. I’m not trying to convince you I’m not a homophobe. I’m not trying to justify anything at all.

I guess what I am doing is admitting that at some level I am prejudiced and that I recognize that I am.  There are a lot of things in my life that I need to improve at. This is one of them. Sometimes I make stupid throw away comments that I quickly realize are wrong. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens. It was a mistake and I realized it. I learned from it.

I appreciate the straighties rushing to the side of the LGBT community when the homophobia bell alarms. That’s a nice feeling. We appreciate it. Really. But is this particular instance, that big of a deal? I mean, we do have a sense of humor.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Mavs owner Mark Cuban says NBA will see openly gay player in 3-5 years

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban, the gay-friendly owner of the Dallas Mavericks, told TMZ recently that he believes the NBA will see an openly gay player before the league sees a female head coach.

Cuban noted that Nancy Lieberman coached the Mavericks’ D-League team, the Texas Legends, last year. But he said coaching in the NBA isn’t one of Lieberman’s goals. And although he thinks it will definitely happen eventually, Cuban said it will take some time for a female coach to work her way up through the NBA ranks. Then the topic shifted to the question of a gay player. Here’s a transcript of the exchange between Cuban and TMZ host Harvey Levin:

LEVIN: What’s going to happen first, an openly gay player in the NBA or a female coach?

CUBAN: An openly gay player.

LEVIN: You think it’s going to happen soon?

CUBAN: I think within the next three to five years absolutely.

LEVIN: Is there talk about that, where people are saying, “Hey, we’ve got to stop this kind of image that we have that we’re intolerant.” Are people talking about that within teams?

CUBAN: Not so much because I don’t think there’s really the perception that we are intolerant. I think the only issues we’ve had is with some fallback and some old-school type language that’s derogatory to gays. So there are certain words that I think were accepted five or 10 years ago that guys are starting to recognize you can’t use any longer, and that hasn’t been a problem. So I think it will be more of a media sensation when somebody comes out than it will be a player issue.

The exchange begins at about the 9-minute mark in the video below.

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—  John Wright

Updates on Mavericks' Drew Gooden and K.C. Chiefs' Larry Johnson

Last month, we blogged about Kansas City Chiefs’ player Larry Johnson controversy of using anti-gay slurs on reporters and even on his Twitter feed. He was immediately suspended pending investigation. The Chiefs announced today that Johnson has been dropped from the team.

Soon after, we heard Drew Gooden of the Mavericks called actor Chris Wylde and his friend “faggot at an L.A. Clippers game last week. There were a lot of holes in the story but team owner Mark Cuban assured it was being looked into. The holes in mention were Wylde’s accusations going unheard or unseen and his coincidental ties to a Web-based show about heckling basketball teams reaked of a publicity stunt. But now, two more people have come forward with a similar story against (also at a Clippers game) and the NBA is on the case. OutSports offered this update last Friday.

—  Rich Lopez

Dallas Mavericks' Drew Gooden may or may not have used the 'F' word

ESPN.com.
ESPN.com.

According to actor Chris Wylde, Drew Gooden, 90, from the Mavericks called him and his friend “faggots” Saturday night at their game in L.A. against the Clippers. Wylde and friend admitted to innocent heckling but did not expect this sort of retaliation. Outsports covered the story here. According to the article, Mavs owner Mark Cuban has taken the position of  dealing with it internally.

Wylde, who is not gay, e-mailed Cuban to complain. In it, he said “It’s not bad enough we (L.A. Clippers) have the worst record in the league, but to literally be hate crimed by a millionaire is repulsive.” Cuban later  told OutSports, “For the record, I heard their heckling during the game, some was funny, some not as innocent as they want to make it sound. That doesn’t excuse any homophobic commentary from anyone, but it does make me want to get confirmation.”

Wylde’s friend did not want to go on record about the incident. The Dallas Morning News reported that the NBA has not looked into the allegations. According to IMDB, Wylde is listed as a cast member in the CBS Web show, Heckle U. The plot summary on IMDB describes the show as “the story of a slacker Chance and his best friend Darrell who have the ability to change the course of a basketball game by heckling the opposing teams into submission. Chance is pushed to excel as a heckler and take their theatrics to the next level by his Uncle Lou.”

Hmmm. Maybe Wylde was just doing research.The Mavs play the Utah Jazz tonight at the AAC.

—  Rich Lopez