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Outsports assholes of the year: Lance Berkman, Rajon Rondo

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The baseball and basketball players win our most dubious award.

Lance Berkman, left, and Rajon Rondo
Lance Berkman, left, and Rajon Rondo
USA TODAY

There has been a marked decrease in public homophobia in sports, as athletes have become more tolerant toward gay people or more careful because they know such statements will get them condemned. But there were still some top contenders and we have co-winners: Lance Berkman and Rajon Rondo are our 2015 Outsports Assholes of the Year.

Former Houston Astro Lance Berkman injected him into politics when he campaigned against an LGBT rights ordinance in Houston that wound up being defeated. One of the key provisions of the ordinance would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom where they felt most comfortable. Berkman released a radio ad, that said:

"No men in women's bathrooms, no boys in girls' showers or locker rooms. I played professional baseball for 15  years, but my family is more important. My wife and I have four daughters. Proposition 1, the bathroom ordinance, would allow troubled men to enter women's public bathrooms, showers and locker rooms. This would violate their privacy and put them in harm's way."

This ad totally distorted what the ordinance allowed and showed ignorance and bigotry toward trans people. After the ordinance was sadly defeated, Berkman went on a radio show the next day and played the victim card.

To me tolerance is the virtue that's killing this country," Berkman said on KTRH 740 AM's "The Michael Berry Show. "We're tolerant of everything. You know, everything is OK, and as long as you want to do it and as long as it feels good to you then it's perfectly acceptable do it. Those are the kinds of things that lead you down a slippery slope, and you'll get in trouble in a hurry. What's become a shame is that it seems like anybody who has an opinion that comes more from right immediately gets castigated, called a bigot, by voicing that opinion."

Berkman showed not only his ignorance of LGBT issues but also of the First Amendment — he was free to say what he wants and opponents were free to call him an intolerant bigot.

Berkman was the clear winner until this week when Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo was suspended by the NBA after calling gay referee Bill Kennedy a "mother fucking faggot." Kennedy came out publicly after the incident but it was widely known in the league that he is gay.

Rondo went after Kennedy after disputing some calls and used a slur knowing full well the referee's sexual orientation.  He then issued a weak apology saying "My actions during the game were out of frustration and emotion, period! They absolutely do not reflect my feelings toward the LGBT community. I did not mean to offend or disrespect anyone."

An analysis of his "apology" showed words that were eerily similar to those used by Kobe for a similar incident in 2011. Rondo never had the guts to face the media and answer questions, and we don't believe his apology was sincere in the slightest.

Our runnersup:

  • British boxer Tyson Fury had a two-fer, insulting women and gays. "I'm not sexist. I believe a woman's best place is in the kitchen and on her back. That's my personal belief. Making me a good cup of tea, that's what I believe." And: "There are only three things that need to be accomplished before the devil comes home [meaning before Satan rules the world]. One of them is homosexuality being legal in countries, one of them is abortion and the other is paedophilia."
  • Felice Belloli, the president of Italy's amateur soccer association, made an ass of himself in a meeting on funding for women's soccer in the country. Belloli allegedly said: "That's enough, we can't always talk about giving money to this bunch of lesbians." He later denied the remarks but eyewitnesses said he uttered exactly that.