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This week’s LGBT Sports winners and losers capital of the world

It was a lousy week for 2 guys who talk for a living and other big stories of the past 7 days.

Shelby Weldon

If ever there was a week that left an indelible impression on young sports announcers of the future, this was it. The question that remains, however: which city was now-suspended Cincinnati Reds announcer Thom Brennaman referring to when he uttered his now infamous anti-gay slur about the “fag capital of the world”?

Almost 15% of Twitter users who took part in our unscientific poll wanted to know the answer to that question even more than taking the opportunity to weigh-in on our other big question: should what Brennaman said result in him being fired?

Seven in ten of the more than 340 votes cast favored seeing the announcer terminated by the Reds and Fox Sports Ohio.

Not everybody agrees, of course, including the author of our most popular story this week:

Winner: Cyd Zeigler wouldn’t fire Thom Brennaman. Here’s why

Los Angeles Dodgers v Cincinnati Reds
Thom Brennaman at Great American Ball Park on June 16, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Our Cyd Zeigler said that instead of firing Brennaman, suspending him and offering the opportunity to grow can have stronger results. He’s seen this happen before, and he is among those working to make it happen again for Brennaman.


Loser: Thom Brennaman should be fired and I would not hesitate to do so

I support the efforts Brennaman is already making to educate himself and evolve, but I believe there must be consequences beyond suspending him. This is an opportunity for straight media executives to send the message that homophobia gets called out on the first strike. Zero tolerance means zero.


Winners: Cincinnati Reds players and manager David Bell condemn Brennaman’s slur against LGBT community

Pitcher Matt Bowman was among those offering kind and sympathetic words: “LGBTQ+ community, as a member of the Reds organization, I am so sorry for the way you were marginalized tonight,” Bowman tweeted. “There will always be a place for you in the baseball community and we are so happy to have you here.”


Winner: Steve Buckley of The Athletic, for writing these 2 sentences

“But firings or no firings, apologies or no apologies, what’s even better is that actual big-league athletes are criticizing Brennaman. And for big-league athletes to stand up for the LGBTQ+ community in this fashion is more important than all the Pride Nights in all the ballparks in all the land.”


Loser: Mike Milbury joins the “I Didn’t Think Before I Spoke” Sports Announcers Club (Again)

What’s great about playing hockey in Canada’s two Bubble arenas, said NHL player turned announcer Mike Milbury during Thursday night’s Islanders-Capitals playoff game: “Not even any women here to disrupt your concentration.”

Milbury apologized after both the NHL and NBC Sports condemned his “insensitive” remark. “It was not my intention to disrespect anyone,” Milbury said in a statement released Friday through the network. “I was trying to be irreverent and took it a step too far. It was a regrettable mistake that I take seriously.” Seems NBC and the NHL are also taking it very seriously, as they should.


Winner: NWHLPA director Anya Packer is ready to replace Mike Milbury as NHL analyst

Even before Milbury’s comment about women, the director of the NWHL Players’ Association says Milbury has to go, and she’s ready to step in.


We’ve Lost A Winner: Longtime NFL video staffer Rob Brakel has passed away, remembered as ‘passionate,’ ‘generous’

Bob Brakel
Rob Brakel, RIP.

Rob Brakel came out in 2014 and worked with two NFL teams and the League. ‘He had a big heart,’ says everyone.


Loser: Creepy new details about man charged in attempted kidnapping of out WWE wrestler

Police say Phillip A. Thomas II sent Sonya Deville a chilling message the night he allegedly invaded her property: “Hey baby, look outside. I’m by your pool.”


Winner: Out volleyball coach reflects positive attitude to players amid pandemic

Morgan Dalziel
Instagram

A victim of the unemployment crisis caused by the pandemic, Morgan Dalziel returned home to coach high school girls’ volleyball and make a plan for his future.


Loser: Transphobe Beth Stelzer got called out for her op-ed about transgender inclusion

Beth Stelzer’s tweet
Screengrab

It made me chuckle to see TERF activist Beth Stelzer call Outsports “a fringe, extremist group” in a bitter, transphobic rant published as an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. But what was really satisfying is how so many readers of the paper criticized both the publisher and Stelzer for printing her vile screed. One reader noted that Stelzer never once used the words “transgender,” “trans” or “trans women,” and instead consistently referred to them as “males” and “men.”

Stelzer and her fringe, extremist group are the ones behind a letter to the NCAA, calling on the college sports association to keep March Madness college basketball tournaments in Idaho despite a state law that violates NCAA policy on trans inclusion. The policy is now under review and that law, HB500, is now on hold, because a federal judge has allowed a lawsuit against Idaho’s ban on trans athletes to proceed. That’s our next story from the week that was:


Losers: Opponents of transgender inclusion lose first round in Idaho court battle: Federal judge grants injunction to stop state law banning trans student athletes

U.S. District Judge David Nye agreed to put the brakes on Idaho’s HB500 law that bans trans girls and women from competing with cisgender athletes.


Winner: Gay Rangers writer testifies about baseball’s evolving LGBTQ acceptance

Alex Plinck has built relationships with players while covering the Texas Rangers. His story is emblematic of how the game has become more welcoming.


A Tremendous Loss: Legendary Golden Gate Wrestling Club shutting down after 40 years

‘GGWC literally saved my life.’ An outpouring of love and support for one of the pioneering sports groups for LGBTQ people.


Winner: Julian Venonsky has never been in the closet on the US Rowing team

Julian Venonsky
US Rowing

Julian Venonsky was out at Cal, capping his career with a national title. Now he’s taking aim at the Olympics.


Wedded Winners: Brazilian soccer scoring ace Cristiane finds the back of the net at the altar

Cristiane
Cristiane, who has been an out lesbian throughout her playing career, married her girlfriend Ana Paula Garcia Silva in a small, private ceremony in Sao Paulo on Saturday, August 15, 2020.
Twitter

Marriage “fulfills a dream” as she eyes one more Olympic dream in Tokyo in ‘21.


More Wedded Winners: These gay Australian cricket champions and teammates just got married

Delissa Kimmince married her longtime girlfriend, Laura Harris, after dating for four years.


World Winner: Gay ultrarunner joins first all-Black team to complete World’s Toughest Race

Coree Aussem-Woltering pauses from competing in ultramarathons to conquer Amazon Prime’s Eco-Challenge Fiji.


Winner: Gay NFL player Esera Tuaolo opens up about head trauma in new podcast

Tuaolo hosts a candid conversation about head trauma with Brett Favre on his new podcast, “Mr. Aloha.”


Winner: Runner, raised Jehovah’s Witness, found path to coming out rewarding

David Gilbert
David Gilbert

David Gilbert made a brave decision to come out while raised Jehovah’s Witness and has never looked back.


That’s all for this week! I’ll bring you a fresh list of winners and losers next Saturday. Got a name I missed, or want to challenge my choices? Comment here or on Facebook or Instagram, tweet at us, message me via any social media, or just plain email me at outsports@gmail.com Thanks!