It was an exciting moment for the Richland Bombers high school team in Richland, Wash., on Saturday. The Bombers had just defeated Woodinville, 28-21, to finish the season unbeaten and win the state 4A title. The moment called for a celebration.
As the team gathered in a group on the field, Adam Weissenfels, a senior wide receiver and defensive back, scrambled over and kissed quarterback Cade Jensen. A third player, Josh Mendoza, got involved and planted what he said in a tweet was “a nice wet kiss on [Jensen’s] forehead.”
Good Game Bombers..... but ummmmm pic.twitter.com/T759vDBUDp— Dillon Crawford (@DillonCrawford6) December 3, 2017
The above tweet showing the postgame kiss from a TV broadcast was posted by Dillon Crawford, a player from another Washington state high school, who frowned on the kiss for some reason (“Good Game Bombers..... but ummmmm”).
In watching it, I assumed it was youthful exuberance from teenagers who were celebrating the sports highlight of their young lives. Weissenfels, who had three interceptions in the game, caught a touchdown pass and kicked four PATs, commented on the moment in a message to me.
“Well, I am not gay,” Weissenfels told Outsports. “My teammates and I are super close, and I don’t want to say that [kissing on the team is] normal, but it’s not a huge deal on our team. I guess you could say the emotions took over.”
As if to confirm what Weissenfels told me about how close his team is, two other post-game tweets demonstrate this. One from Jensen:
And this one shows player Ryan Piper interrupting an interview to call Weissenfels “the most handsome guy in the state and the greatest guy I know. He's my best friend.” Followed by two pecks on the cheek, one by each player:
I asked @AHoshidaSports if the business trip trek was worth it... @AWeissenfels the @keprtv MVP weighed in, made the stay worthwhile. 3 picks. Stole the show.— Bridget Case (@bcasesports) December 3, 2017
Until @RyanPiper20 showed up... #livebomb #StateChamps #GridironClassic @bomberathletics @rhs_bombsquad pic.twitter.com/NdixvCaWuU
The comments on Crawford’s tweet showing the kissing were a mixture of some people finding it fun and others calling it yucky. But I was encouraged by some of the comments from people wondering why the initial poster was so bothered by the kiss that he tweeted his displeasure about it.
“If he went up to his girlfriend and kissed her when they won I’m pretty sure you’d all find it adorably romantic.”
“It's 2017 get over it lol”
Crawford seemed to get defensive over some of the backlash and said his post was was not homophobic. “It's not homophobia if [they’re] not actually gay,” he tweeted. To which someone replied: “Wow you got me there pal. Obviously they aren’t gay, they were stoked that they won a state championship, so who gives a shit?”
We have seen players kissing before and coaches kissing players and players hugging all the time. We should encourage men of all orientations to be affectionate with other men; it sure beats fighting. As QB Jensen said in a tweet: “It was just a kiss.”