Saturday’s Black Tie Dinner was noteworthy in part because, for the first time in a long time, there was no keynote speaker announced to anchor the night. There as a lineup of guest appearances, sure, but the biggie? Never happened. (Organizers had one in mind, but negotiations couldn’t be finalized at the last minute.)
But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a major speech. There was.
Although he was listed merely as making a “special appearance,” WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen ended up delivering what many present felt was one of the best addresses to a Black Tie audience in memory. He got at standing ovation. And he deserved it. (To the organizers’ shame, Hansen wasn’t even part of the exclusive Speakers’ Reception where VIPs could have their photos taken with celebrities. Now everyone who was there wish they had one to put on their Facebook page.)
Hansen, of course, caused a sensation earlier this year when, after Michael Sam came out as gay prior to the NFL, Hansen took to the airwaves to chastise those who questioned his decision. It was a spirited, slightly chiding argument in favor of being a straight ally from a tall, burly, older-male sports nut — exactly the kind of ally we need because, like Sam himself, it destroys stereotypes. Hansen touted his status as an old-school liberal in Red State Central, and voiced hope for the future — “perhaps not in your lifetimes, and almost certainly not mine,” he sighed … but eventually. Gay rights are inevitable. Equality is a necessity.
Hansen was introduced by another out athlete, Jason Collins (Sam was not present at the evening), in what got the dinner started off in the right direction.
The rest of the guests were excellent as well, from Alex Newell‘s searing vocals to Dana Goldberg‘s side-splitting comedy routine (and surprising deftness as the live auctioneer) to Ted Olson’s speech (oddly, David Boies was present at the reception but ducked out before the dinner — kinda not cool, Dave) and Steve Grand‘s … well, grandness.
The photo of Dale here is by Cassie Quinn. Check out more of her photos from the night here.
See video of the evening by Barry Phillips and Brenna Hemminger here.