Each week, Outsports stops the clock for an instant reply of the week that was. It’s our way of memorializing the glorious victories, the ignominious defeats, and the players and personalities who made them, lived them or just couldn’t avoid them.
We realize our roster may differ from yours, and we welcome your comments, contributions and critiques. We read them all! Details on how to reach us are below, after our look at this week’s winners and losers.
Winners: The New York Yankees and LGBTQ baseball fans
The Bronx Bombers released details of the Celebration of New York’s Legacy of Pride game Friday, and it’s shaping up to the team’s biggest demonstration ever of its commitment to the LGBTQ community.
The Yankees are hosting the Blue Jays on this special night: Tuesday, June 25, the night before the community marks the 6th and 4th anniversary of two landmark Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage, and days before the 50th anniversary of the start of the Stonewall riots.
The infield will be adorned with specially jeweled LGBTQ/Stonewall-themed bases, which will be auctioned off for charity.
Five New York City Public School graduating seniors — Francheska Colon of the Bronx, Ashley Farrell of Staten Island, Hugh Goldstein of Queens, Alex Rosado of Manhattan, and an anonymous student from Brooklyn — will be honored on the field as the winners of five $10,000 scholarships.
In addition, a Yankees spokesperson told Outsports something prominent and “big,” will be unveiled that night. It’s not “just” a special performance by a celebrity, he assured us. What could it be? A rainbow fair pole? Glitter baselines? Umpires in drag? We welcome your guesses, and will report back to you Tuesday night.
Losers: The Rose Bowl and Concacaf
Both the Rose Bowl and Concacaf allowed the anti-gay and homophobic “puto” chant to descend on Saturday’s crowd as many as 50 times, according to video and people on Twitter. The response by both Concacaf and the stadium to try to stop the chant were designed to fail and simply pay lip service to people trying to stop the discriminatory behavior.
The chant during Mexico’s 7-0 routing of Cuba was widespread, very loud and involved a huge number of people in the stands.
The “puto” chant is anti-gay and is designed to belittle opposing male players by likening them to prostitutes and women. The chant is, at its core, indisputably anti-gay and FIFA itself has labeled the chant discriminatory.
Yet soccer organizations allow the chant to persist, negatively affecting LGBTQ fans, players and coaches.
Concacaf told Outsports through a spokesperson that the organization chose to only address it through feckless public announcements.
“On this occasion the most appropriate action, with the safety and security of all spectators in mind, was to make PA announcements urging a group of fans at the game to refrain from discriminatory chanting,” Concacaf said.
The organization also told Outsports it is engaged in an “inclusivity initiative, with all of the federations and stakeholders across our region,” with the aim “to encourage fans to consider the impact their behavior will have on others.”
Concacaf has thus far made it very clear that it will not engage in any activity that will actually stop the discriminatory behavior. As we’ve seen, public announcements and campaigns have only emboldened Mexico fans to chant more and louder. Concacaf’s absurdly weak response to date should now be considered tacit consent. While MLS clubs are now targeting fans for removal from their stadiums, Concacaf responds with PSAs.
As we at Outsports have said for years, the only way to curb this bigoted behavior is to suspend the matches when it happens and complete them in an empty stadium if it continues. There is no other action that will stop the behavior from Mexico fans. Period.
Winners: Out and proud LGBTQ Nike athletes
Sue Bird, Brittney Griner, Chris Mosier and other out athletes appear in a new, long-form video for Nike’s “Be True” campaign, timed to coincide with Pride. The message this time around is, “Nobody wins alone” and “No one wins until we all win.”
“None of us can truly win,” says Mosier in a voiceover, “ until the rules are the same for everyone.”
Nike matched those words with video of embattled Olympian Caster Semenya, running, and then looking straight into the camera in an extreme closeup, as if to reinforce, “everyone!”
“It’s intended to celebrate the contributions and achievements of Nike athletes who are creating change, using sport as a platform,” Mosier told Outsports by phone. “My platform is for inclusion and that’s why I’m a part of this campaign.”
“I’m just trying to continue to kind of normalize what what it is to be gay,” Bird told Outsports in a phone interview. “It was awesome to do it with people who are not only my teammates but my friends. It’s really cool to have a mix there you are supporting others but others are also supporting you simultaneously.”
“The playing field won’t be level until all of us are equal,” adds Mosier in his voiceover.
Bird is enthusiastic about the video, which features her and her Seattle Storm teammates winning the 2018 WNBA championship, and its message. She said she and her partner Megan Rapinoe talk often about shaking up the status quo.
Mosier joked with us about our report in January 2017 about the first time he appeared shirtless in a Nike ad, which prompted a complaint from a viewer in Tennessee to the FCC. He did it again for this video.
Any complaints this time, we asked?
“Not that I know of! But it’s funny, it was you guys, SB Nation and Outsports that broke that for me, so you should have the inside dirt there!”
Losers: International Association of Athletic Federations
Despite previous denials by the International Associations of Athletic Federations, documents released Tuesday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland reveal IAAF officials called Olympic champion Caster Semenya “biologically male.”
The organization argued Semenya should be forced to reduce her natural testosterone to compete in female competitions.
According to the CAS records, Semenya told the judges that being described as biologically male “hurts more than I can put in words.” The 28-year-old South African Olympic champion said she didn’t know how to properly explain how insulting it was for the IAAF to tell her “that I am not a woman.”
Semenya’s outrage and the IAAF’s characterization of Semenya and other female athletes affected by its controversial new testosterone regulations came to light in a 163-page document detailing closed-door exchanges from a five-day hearing held in February.
Although some portions remain redacted, the court records prove the IAAF did in fact refer to the three-time world champion as one of a number of “biologically male athletes with female gender identities.” Outsports, the BBC, ESPN and a number of other news sites all reported in February the IAAF’s denial it would do exactly what it did.
Using an argument that’s familiar to anyone who has participated in debates over transgender athletes, the IAAF said it was only trying to ensure fairness in female competitions: “There are some contexts where biology has to trump identity.”
Semenya is not transgender; she was legally identified as female at birth and has identified as female her entire life. She calls her ability a result of her “natural gifts.”
Earlier this month, Switzerland’s supreme court ruled Semenya can compete without medical intervention, until the Swiss supreme court hears her full appeal of the CAS verdict upholding the IAAF rules.
Potential Losers: USA Powerlifting
The Alaska-based organization defended its Transgender Participation Policy and refuted claims that it has discriminated against trans powerlifter JayCee Cooper in a statement to Outsports. At last report, the group has not yet received a human rights complaint filed by Gender Justice in Minneapolis. Here is USAPL’s statement, in full:
“(Anchorage, Alaska June 17, 2019) There is reportedly a filing under the Minnesota Human Rights Act alleging discrimination on the part of USA Powerlifting with regard to not allowing transgender females to compete in the women’s competition division. USA Powerlifting has not seen this filing, although objects to the characterization of these allegations as charges. No criminal complaint has been authored or issued, and this mischaracterization represents the language of bullying and abuse as has been directed at USA Powerlifting, its officials, and members.
“It is a further inaccurate to describe USA Powerlifting as banning transgender athletes. Our rules state that divisions are based on sex, and that analysis of scientific data reflects the inherent differences in strength in powerlifting, between biological males (XY) and biological females (XX). This difference is so significant that reduction of androgens does not, and cannot overcome these differences. To allow those born and who went through puberty as males to compete as females would be inherently discriminatory against a federally protected class: women. Further, allowing transgender males to use androgens when no other category of athlete is allowed them represents an unfair advantage and against the founding principles of USA Powerlifting. Accordingly, transgender women are allowed to compete in the division reflecting their birth, and transgender men may compete without androgens.
“The question of whether a governmental entity may dictate an inherently unfair and discriminatory practice, ignoring the evidence that to do so will damage a specific group or several groups of athletes is a larger issue. It goes to the heart of whether it is appropriate for government to intrude on the practices and rules of a private entity acting to protect fair play, in recognition of scientific evidence about the factors involved. The issue of whether USA Powerlifting may be singled out in the context of other similar organizations with similar rules may well represent abuse of discretion, over-interpretation of “public accommodation” as defined in Minnesota statutes, and misuse of the protected group based on sexual orientation. USA Powerlifting is decidedly not biased against nor discriminatory to anyone based on sexual orientation or preference and welcomes all to participate who comply with our rules. USA Powerlifting will examine this complaint should it proceed and if received, will defend our policies and practices vigorously.”
“USA Powerlifting remains committed to a platform that is drug free and fair for all.”
Winner: US Women’s National Team
The United States Women’s National Team has been the favorite at the Women’s World Cup since the first match, and their odds only improved over the course of the group stage. They opened with a 13-0 thumping of Thailand, and followed that with a 3-0 win over Chile and a 2-0 win over Sweden to secure first place in their group.
The USWNT opened as 2-1 favorites to win the World Cup, and now sit at even money.
Speaking of money, USA Today reported Saturday WNT stars Ali Krieger and Kelley O’Hara said that the news that the team and U.S. Soccer have tentatively agreed to mediation over the players’ gender discrimination lawsuit won’t be a distraction during the tournament because the women aren’t even talking about it.
“We’re here to win a World Cup, the lawyers are at home to do their thing. We both have our jobs,” O’Hara said. “This team has been very good, has always been very good, at compartmentalizing. We focus on the task at hand and I haven’t paid any mind to anything that’s been going on. That’s something that we’ll pick back up when we get home.”
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the women approached U.S. Soccer to request mediation, and the sides agreed to pursue it after the World Cup. The next court date in the lawsuit is scheduled for July 15, eight days after the World Cup final.
Losers: NBA Draft prospects who tweeted anti-gay slurs
More patently anti-gay and not-so-subtly homophobic tweets by an NBA player, as well as prospects for the upcoming NBA Draft, have been discovered by an Outsports reader, each of them raising the question of how to handle this epidemic from days past that continues to plague professional sports.
At least three players being considered in the draft, as well as league veteran Richaun Holmes, took to Twitter years ago to use homophobic phrases or slurs directed at individuals. None of them have apologized for their language or taken any action to undo the damage.
In the latest round, the most egregious tweets discovered by our intrepid reader and researcher were from Richaun Holmes of the Phoenix Suns. These were also the oldest tweets unearthed, coming in 2011 when Holmes was 17.
Hoping to be drafted into the NBA this week is Talen Horton-Tucker of Iowa State. His old tweets from 2015 called someone a gay slur and in multiple tweets used the homophobic “No Homo.” NBA players tweeting “No Homo” has been going on for a decade. It popped up multiple times with other current NBA prospects, like with Darius Garland of Vanderbilt and Purdue’s Carsen Edwards.
According to one LGBTQ French-speaking athlete, Draft prospect Sekou Doumbouya went all in by telling a follower to “unfollow me you little f**got.” This tweet has been deleted by Doumbouya in the last few weeks since he hired an agent
Winners: Nike, Converse and other athletic wear companies
Outsports collated all the Pride gear you can buy made by companies that give back to the LGBTQ community. Choose from the Adidas Pride Collection for 2019, Bombas, Brooks, Converse, Diesel, Dockers, Dolls Kill, Doc Martens, DSW’s Pride Collection, H&M, Kenneth Cole, Macy’s, Michael Kors, Nike’s Be True collection, Polo Ralph Lauren, Reebok,Teva and Under Armour.
Sore Losers: 3 cis girls who say they lost because trans girls ran
Three cisgender high school students in Connecticut filed a federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Monday against Connecticut’s statewide policy allowing transgender girls to compete with them.
The girls are all represented by the anti-LGBTQ Christian-run advocacy law firm, Alliance Defending Freedom, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group. While two of the girls were not named because they are minors, a third was identified as Selina Soule of Glastonbury, Conn.
Winners: Pride proposal-makers
A gay fan of the Phoenix Mercury WNBA team popped the question to her girlfriend last Friday.
Instead of a traditional “Kiss Cam,” the Mercury staff showcased LGBTQ fans with a “Pride Cam” on Pride Night on June 14. And when it was Shannon and Lori’s turn, one of the women stopped her girlfriend from kissing so she could grab her wallet and pulled out a ring. Even the announcers were caught unaware. The girlfriend was stunned, and said yes.
Across the pond, a 32-year-old Welsh boxer named Anthony Ash proposed to his boyfriend of 11 years last weekend after securing his first victory.
Ash had previously studied the Israeli self-defense martial art of Krav Maga as a way to defend himself from would-be homophobes. But more recently, he’d been training for months with Elite Fitness boxing gym and fought in two previous matches, but he’d never won a match until this last Saturday, June 15.
After winning the match, Ash took the mic and turned to his boyfriend who was standing in the ring.
Ash said, “My best friend here, my partner, my love, Yanko,” retrieved a ring from someone standing ringside, and then got down on one knee to propose.
Losers: Victims of anti-gay slurs
Another new study from Monash University again demonstrates that athletes using gay slurs don’t mean to convey messages of homophobia to their teammates, and in fact believe their teams would be welcoming places for gay athletes.
The study focused on 146 semi-professional ice hockey players in Australia. The sample group included a good mix of players from North America, Europe and Australia.
One of the most illuminating parts of the study looked at why athletes use gay slurs. Some of the results:
- 55% because they want to make people laugh
- 46% think the language is normal, so no one thinks about it
- 6% want to insult or bully others who are gay
- 1% say they are homophobic
This is more positive information for LGB kids concerned that the negative language they experience inherently means their team will reject them.
However, it’s equally important to stress that the impact of this language on LGB youth is very negative and very real. As other studies have shown, and as the researchers pointed out, LGB youth who have experienced verbal abuse — these gay slurs that aren’t meant to harm — are twice as likely to consider or perform self-harm.
Winners: Athena Del Rosario and Team USA Beach Handball
Team USA beach handball is taking part in “friendlies” against other nations, and the fresh face on the team is a former University of California soccer goalie who made her international debut this week.
Team USA lost by 1 point in a shootout with France, and as Del Rosario tweeted, France beat the world champion team from Greece. On Friday, Team USA took on Greece, and unfortunately, the world champions beat them in what Del Rosario tweeted was “a hard fought match.”
Potential winner: Martina Navratilova and transgender women
Martina Navratilova is now granting interviews in advance of her documentary, “The Trans Women Athlete Dispute With Martina Navratilova,” scheduled to premiere on BBC1 on June 26 at 9 pm. In discussing the film with WhatsOnTV, she talked about why she’s delving into this issue, and also revealed where she currently stands:
“I realized perhaps I don’t know as much as I thought! I have no dog in this fight other than wanting to fight for equality and fairness.”
“I’m meeting a variety of people but at the moment I’m pretty much where I’ve always been, which is, I want to have as level a playing field as possible. I just don’t know how to get to that and it might not be possible to find a solution that makes everybody happy. So I guess do least harm. I’m hoping to get more information so that maybe we can find an equitable solution where you can make a rule and be more inclusive of the transgender community, without displacing women that were born female so that when they’re competing against transgender women they don’t feel it’s an unfair situation.”
Losers: Utah HS students suspended for burning pride flag
A Utah high school football coach suspended two players who burned an LGBTQ Pride flag on social media, with one heard to say “all gays die.”
“There’s no place for that in our program at all, and it won’t be tolerated,” Matt Rickards, head coach of the Kearns High School team told a local TV station. “It’s potentially a hate crime, so it sickens me.”
Winners: LGBTQ Hockey fans
In an effort to connect to their LGBTQ fanbases, four active NHL players are marching in their cities’ Pride Parades in 2019.
Continuing a personal tradition, Washington Captials goaltender Braden Holtby once again took part in DC Pride on June 8th. After missing last year’s celebration due to his own team’s Stanley Cup run, Holtby returned this year to participate in his third Pride Parade.
While Holtby has become something of a fixture at Pride, other NHL cities will also get to witness their local players stepping up for the community. In Minnesota, Wild right wing J.T. Brown will be taking part in Twin Cities Pride during this weekend’s parade.
Toronto’s annual Pride Parade will also be taking place this weekend and it will include New Jersey Devils right wing Kurtis Gabriel, who grew up in nearby Newmarket, Ontario. Gabriel previously made headlines in April by vowing to use Pride Tape on his stick for the rest of his career after scoring his first goal on the Devils’ Pride Night. Gabriel later explained his decision to Outsports:
“It meant something to people, and so I figured I just wouldn’t take it off. It’s not a very hard gesture. So I figured I’d just support the LGBTQ community.”
Winners: Our out LGBTQ athletes of the week
For years, Antonio Corral felt out of place in lacrosse, until he came out as gay and embraced who he is.
“I remember seeing 54 pairs of eyes on me, all high school boys at a retreat in my junior year of high school in 2018.
“As a Mexican American growing up playing lacrosse in Denver, I was used to feeling different, since the white, upper class lacrosse “bro” culture is so dominant. But at this retreat I was feeling vulnerable and yet comfortable as I got to know people and decided it was time to be myself.
“I began to tell them about how I grew up in a Catholic household and how I used to question my faith when I realized I was gay. Next thing I knew, I was talking about my struggles of losing so many close friends my freshman year and the struggles of being out at a Catholic high school.
“I began to get emotional when all of the sudden I looked up and saw everyone in the room stand up and clap. A sense of pride filled me as the eyes of some of my fellow students were opened and they gained a new sense of respect for who I was.
“As I finished, my group leader gave me huge hug and at the end of the night I received encouraging words from people saying they were proud of me and that they would always have my back.”
The more people who come out, ‘the sooner that gay children will feel comfortable to just be themselves,’ Steven Jacobs, now an NYU student, says.
“My event in track was the 400-meter hurdles, one of the most physically challenging races. While it’s strenuous on the body, it’s also a mental test.
“As I sat in my bedroom one evening last December, waiting for a spark of courage to allow me to come out as gay to my Ramapo High School team in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, I thought back to that race and the mental strength that it entailed.
“I told myself to take a chance, and I texted my track team in a group chat. In my text message I said, “This isn’t easy for me. I’d rather run the 400 hurdles 10 times in a row.” I wanted them to understand how difficult it was for me to share this with them.
“Within seconds, my team responded and showed their unconditional support and love. This moment, which I call a “coming out high,” is incomparable. When you’re in the closet, you crave acceptance and I found just that with my track team.
“Their acceptance pushed me to be more open about my sexuality.”
Lacrosse goalie Molly Wolf of WPLL Pride came out at her high school graduation, and now works to coach and mentor children.
Molly Wolf is a professional goalie playing for the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League. Not only that, but the team she now plays for is named Pride, based at Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots.
When she’s not playing, Kumar wrote that Wolf works with kids, coaches recreation leagues and interacts with them. She said the most important thing for her is to be as open as possible with kids, to engage them in conversations about topics that might be uncomfortable, and to make them feel at ease.
She said she looks to the example of Michael Sam being the first out gay player ever drafted in the NFL. Wolf said she hoped that in time, young closeted athletes will look to her example and feel comfortable coming out.
“For LGBTQ folks, especially in sports, there is such a stigma around it. They either want to say super negative things about it or they don’t even want to talk about it. Where I would love to have an open-table discussion with anyone and anyone and anyone,” Wolf told espnW. “That’s how change happens.”
That’s all for this week! We’ll bring you a fresh list of winners and losers next Saturday. Got a name we missed, or want to challenge our choices? Comment here or on Facebook or Instagram,tweet at us, message us via any social media, or just plain email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!