NFL’s Fujita makes video for marriage equality

There was a time when professional sports, at least male professional sports, were considered a bastion of homophobia and narrow-mindedness. But that reputation is slowly being chipped away at. The National Football Leagueand Major League Baseball passed policies prohibiting anti-gay discrimination just this year while Major League Soccer led the way by adopting such policies in 2004, and the National Hockey League followed suit in 2005.

Scott Fujita when he played for New Orleans

But those are “organizations” — big businesses, in fact, that are just following the lead of other big businesses which have known for years that such policies help you attract the best and the brightest employees. What about the individuals within pro sports? How do they feel?

Well, obviously, attitudes are changing at that level, too.

Today, the Human Rights Campaign released a new web ad promoting marriage equality that features NFL linebacker Scott Fujita, a straight man married for 12 years and a father of two. Fujita plays now for the Cleveland Browns. He was on the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in 2010, and in 2005 played for the Dallas Cowboys.

“I’ve been married for 12 years and I know that it is unfair to keep other loving and committed couples from getting married and protecting their families,” Fujita says in the ad, which you can watch below.

This isn’t the first time that Fujita has publicly supported LGBT rights. But it’s nice to know that he continues to be visible and vocal about his support. The fact is that hundreds of thousands — millions, even — of ordinary Americans — the exact people we need to reach with our message of equality — look up to pro athletes like Scott Fujita.  And when those athletes come up with a positive, affirming message about equality for everyone, at least some of those ordinary Americans are going to listen.

Now if we can just get a NASCAR driver to speak up for equality ……

—  admin

NFL analyst Dan Hampton to apologize on the air to the gays — but probably not the Cowboys

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation reports that “Pro Football Weekly” co-host Dan Hampton is set to apologize on the air this week for a homophobic comment he made last week, when he said the Dallas Cowboys are more “Brokeback” than “Eastwood.” Hampton apologized Monday night for another offensive comment, in which he suggested that the Minnesota Vikings need to “hit that town like Katrina” when they play the New Orleans Saints on Thursday. From GLAAD’s blog:

Hampton publicly apologized for the Katrina gaffe, but has not yet addressed the Brokeback comment. Pro Football Weekly publisher Hub Arkush told GLAAD that Hampton will be leading this weekend’s show with an on-air apology for both statements. Arkush said “it shouldn’t have happened” and assured GLAAD that similar incidents will not happen again.

No word on whether Hampton plans to apologize to the Cowboys, who undoubtedly will perpetuate the homophobia by using his comment as bulletin-board material.

—  John Wright

Surge in homophobic comments on the air can only mean one thing — it’s football season!

Dan Hampton, a Hall of Fame defensive lineman who now apparently works as an analyst for the MSG Network, used a homophobic metaphor to disparage the Dallas Cowboys on the air over the weekend.

“The Cowboys think they’re Clint Eastwood,” Hampton says in the above video clip. “They’re more of the Brokeback variety if you know what I’m talking about.”

Hampton’s co-host responds by saying, “No I don’t, please explain.”

Instead of explaining the Brokeback comment, Hampton goes on to make an even more offensive one. Referring to an upcoming game in which the New Orleans Saints host the Minnesota Vikings, Hampton says, “The Vikings need to go down there and hit that town like Katrina.” (Video is below.)

What an idiot. Let’s hope MSG cans Hampton by the close of business Tuesday. If they do, we’re sure it will be mostly because of the Katrina comment. After all, homophobia is probably encouraged on these stupid shows to boost ratings.

UPDATE: Hampton has apologized for the Katrina comment on Pro Football Weekly, but not for the homophobic remark about the Cowboys.

—  John Wright

When sports and gay rights collide – in a good way

On Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints face off in Super Bowl XLIV. I’ll be rooting for the Saints, mainly because New Orleans is one of my all-time favorite cities and I have always liked the Saints. But now I have another reason – Scott Fujita.

Fujita is a white man with a Japanese name, a man who says he has no Japanese blood but does have a Japanese heart. He’s a straight man, married and the father of twin daughters. He’s a big, tough, manly-man linebacker with a championship football team. He is an an out, proud and vocal supporter of gay rights.

Last fall, Sirius Radio correspondent and sports journalist Dave Zirin started sending out e-mails to sports stars, asking them if they would speak out in support of gay rights and the National Equality March. Even the ones that Zirin knew supported gay rights said no. Until he asked Fujita.

Fujita said he sees his celebrity and the Saints’ championship season as “this small moment in time where you have a platform to do some good things.”

He said: “People asked me a question and I gave my opinion. People say, ‘That’s so courageous of you.’ To me, it’s not that courageous to have an opinion, especially if you wholeheartedly think it’s the right thing. For me, standing up for equal rights is the right thing to do.’’

Read the whole story here at Boston.Com.

—  admin