(This story was published in 2004).
A story that contends that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick is gay is a hoax. But that hasn’t stopped the tale from making the Internet rounds, nor Vick from discussing it.
"He's here, he's queer, and his name is Michael Vick," began a story from the website Global Associated News. "Shocking sports fans around the globe, NFL representatives for Michael Vick issued a public statement today confirming rumors that began circulating earlier this week about his sexual preferences and homosexual lifestyle."
When readers go to the bottom of the story and click on "about this website," the hoax is quickly exposed. "If you are reading this page, it's likely that you read a 'fake' story from the 'global associated news' --a totally bogus news source. This news story was dynamically generated by someone who visited the site. It was created by dynamically inserting a name into a template on this web site."
This was so obvious a fake (if Michael Vick, or anyone of his stature, came out, the news coverage would be intense and not confined to one website) that we made a note of it in our April 21 Jock Talk, figuring that would satisfy people.
However, e-mails continued to come into Outsports, asking us if the story was true. The term "michael vick gay" is by far the top search phrase for people finding Outsports this month. When a respected gay sports researcher wrote us to inquire, we knew the story, no matter how obviously bogus, still had legs.
Vick, though, didn't get the joke and addressed the issue in a serious way with Atlanta radio station V-103 on April 27. "I won't even feed into that . . . Everybody who knows me, knows how I get down. It's not even an issue," Vick told the "Frank Ski Morning Show." While the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that "the issue is murkier than ever," Vick should be applauded for not giving some tortured "I'm not gay comment" that raises more questions than it answers. Vick certainly seems comfortable with who he is sexually, and it was cool that he didn't feel the need to dump on gays to prove it.
The Global Associated News site is offensive in many ways. People can enter the name of someone to create a story that says "Insert name dies in tragic car crash," or send a story that contends a celebrity died in an accident. Gee, think how funny it would be get a fake story saying mom just died!
Many of its bogus templates deal with sex—gay, porn, masturbation, and how sperm has magical powers for women eating it. I was sorry that there weren’t templates for stories that everyone would know were false merely by the headline:
--"Fred Phelps to Marry Jerry Falwell in Massachusetts Ceremony"
--" 'Alamo' Cleans Up at Box Office and at Oscars"
--"Touched by Tillman, Terrell Owens Joins Special Forces"
--"Martha Stewart Serves Red Wine With Fish"
--"John Stevens Wins 'American Idol' Based on Singing Ability"
--"Kim Jong Il Captures NBA Slam-Dunk Contest"
--"Eagles Win NFC Championship"