Good morning and welcome to The Huddle for today, August 23, 2020. It’s Sunday, and whether your plans for the day involve working, playing, practicing, relaxing, worshipping or all of those, I’m grateful you took 2-minutes out of your morning to get plugged in.
Other than the WNBA, I’m not aware of any scheduled events involving out LGBTQ athletes. If you know of one, or more, let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Scroll down for today’s calendar of major sports events.
This Morning’s Sports Headlines:
NBC Sports announced with a tweet Saturday evening that NHL player-turned-announcer Mike Milbury has “decided to step away” from the mic following his controversial comment about women last week. Be sure to scroll down to Social Media Spotlight to see the reaction of National Women’s Hockey League Players Association director Anya Packer.
FROM MIKE MILBURY:— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) August 22, 2020
In light of the attention caused by my recent remark, I have decided to step away from my role at NBC Sports for the remainder of the StanleyCupPlayoffs. I do not want my presence to interfere with the athletes as they try to win the greatest trophy in sports.
Otherwise, the top LGBT Sports newsmaker remains Thom Brennaman’s anti-gay slur, but it is that word’s impact, not the man himself, which dominates the headlines.
- Sheryl Ring writes in Beyond the Box Score, Thom Brennaman and the problem of privilege: “Brennaman’s use of a homophobic slur is less of a problem than the toxic culture which made doing so socially acceptable.”
- Devin Heroux writing in CBC Sports, The power of words and the weight homophobic slurs carry, quotes the president of the You Can Play Project: “I think the worst thing for kids is to hear this and walk away from sports when they could have been something great,” said Brian Kitts. “I was that kid and did walk away,” wrote Heroux. “Who knows how different my journey could have been, something I often think about.”
- LZ Granderson writes in the Los Angeles Times, Kobe Bryant learned from his homophobia, which brings us to Thom Brennaman: “Removing Brennaman won’t expunge homophobia from baseball any more than Jackie Robinson’s first at-bat turned America into a gorgeous mosaic... little queer boys and girls need to know America’s pastime is for them as well, because for too long voices like Brennaman’s have told them that it isn’t. Changing that is far more important than coddling homophobes, regardless of how long they’ve been allowed to fester.”
- Ashley MacLennan writes in Bleed Cubbie Blue, Can baseball stop being terrible? “It is hard to love a sport, because the truth is that sports will never love you back. Sports will never comfort you when the defeat of your favorite team hurts you, they won’t be there for you as you go through the highs and lows of life. Sports can bring us joy and sorrow in equal measure, and we can love them, but they will never love us back... There is a very real difference between being a cisgendered straight sports fan who does not feel fear going to a game with their significant other, compared to a lesbian couple sitting in the stands just trying to enjoy a game in the company of someone they love without encountering hate speech.”
As for Brennaman, the suspended sports announcer for Fox Sports and the Cincinnati Reds has been talking with PFLAG, MLB’s Billy Bean, out WCPO-TV anchor Evan Millward, among others. In his words, this is an effort “to start improving my understanding of LGBTQ+ issues and not in a way to simply check a box to keep my job.” We’ll keep you posted at Outsports.com
And in other news...
ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel reports Brittney Griner has left the WNBA bubble: “Phoenix center Brittney Griner has left the WNBA’s bubble in Bradenton, Florida, for personal reasons... The Mercury said in a news release: ‘Our players and coaches will have no additional comment on the matter.’”
The Associated Press reported two ex-University of Delaware coaches lost their appeal in a federal discrimination suit: a federal appeals court ruled last week there were multiple nondiscriminatory reasons for the university’s firing of out lesbians Bonnie Kenny and Cindy Gregory.
Caitlin Hutchison reported in The Herald of Scotland that a transgender non-binary cyclist is taking on the first ever ‘Tour de Trans’: “Paeton McGuire and their son, 17-year-old Callum McGuire, are together undertaking an epic journey... cycling as they raise awareness and funds for trans+ issues and start positive conversations about gender identity.” Scroll down to check out McGuire’s video in Social Media Highlights.
Britni de la Cretaz breaks news in Autostraddle with the Shocking Revelation: WNBA Players Don’t Exist to Earn the Approval of Men (specifically, of course, straight men): “Women have been taught our whole lives that our worth lies in how attractive we are to men. Our entire goal in life is supposed to be to be considered desirable by men. Queer women, and women who present an aesthetic that does not cater to the cishet male gaze, one that is unconcerned with being appealing to men, is the biggest threat to traditional, straight masculinity there is. The idea that women don’t want or need men is terrifying to them.”
Highlights from Social Media:
NWHPL director Anya Packer wins the internet with this tweet:
So, you don’t want your presence to be DISTRACTING? The irony. https://t.co/gWmLopjfD4— Anya Packer (@battaglinoa) August 23, 2020
Tennis is back! Without fans in the stands of course. And in keeping with other major sports, organizers at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York City, are making a statement in support of Black Lives Matter, as René Denfeld tweeted:
Here’s that video we promised from the trans non-binary TourDeTrans cyclists in Scotland:
You can see how excited @McguirePaeton is to be in #Scotland and reconnecting with their #Scottish roots!— TourDeTrans (@TourDeTrans) August 22, 2020
Next stop on the journey #AcrossBritainAcrossGenders is #Edinburgh! Looking forward to a greeting from @LEAPsports and @PinkSaltire and a little pRide Along pic.twitter.com/HZ6VVMCt4b
Podcast Du Jour
Six days a week, Outsports has a new podcast for your listening pleasure. This and every weekend enjoy the The Sports Kiki. Your host, Outsports deputy managing editor Alex Reimer, may be away but he hasn’t left his listeners behind. Listen to a special Summer Mailbag edition of the show by clicking here:
Today’s Sports Calendar
UPDATE: The 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 takes place today without fans in the stands.
Pre-race coverage starts at 1:00 p.m. EDT on NBC and will be streamed via the NBC Sports app and NBC Sports Gold, NBC’s subscription streaming TV service.
Pilots will be given the command to start their engines at 2:23 p.m. EDT, and the green flag to start the race will drop at 2:30 p.m. Race coverage is expected to end at 6:00 p.m.
WNBA in the Wubble:
NOTE: None of today’s games will be nationally-televised.
Phoenix Mercury at Washington Mystics at 8 p.m. EDT.
NBA Playoffs in the Bubble:
NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs in Canada:
MLB nationally-televised games:
Click here for ESPN’s Western & Southern Open results from Saturday and schedule for today.
And if you’re a soccer fan, check out ESPN’s schedule of matches by clicking here.
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Thanks for reading all the way to the end. The next edition of The Huddle will appear tomorrow morning on Outsports.com Stay safe!