Category Archives: Issues
I am a Husky of Northeastern, as were both of my parents before me. I’ve held for several years now that attending Northeastern was one of the best decisions of my life thus far, as it was on Huntington Ave. and on co-op that I learned the skills that have made me what I am today.
It’s with this in mind that I recoil at the news that my beloved alma mater plans to install a Chick-Fil-A in the Curry Student Center. For those who might not follow the politics of this company closely, Chick-Fil-A has a history of donating significant sums to anti-gay organizations, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (which decried the “impure lifestyle” of the LGBT community), Focus on the Family (which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center), and Exodus International (a company that works to correct gay behavior).
This is my school, the place where I figured out what I was good at, where I discovered the power and flexibility of the written word, and, in fact, where I first came out of the closet. This is my school saying to me, “tuition money from the generations that follow you will go to a business that actively supports ‘correcting’ gay behavior.” This is my school saying to me, “your life and your lifestyle are less important to us than the money this company offers.”
I don’t accept that.
This week we covered Vancouver’s Lee Nguyen sending a Tweet with homophobic language to teammate Brad Knighton.
He apologized, and we took his apology and desire to do more to make up for the Tweet as sincere. But there have been recent cases — in both other sports here in the US and in soccer abroad — of stiff penalties handed down to players who have Tweeted similar things.
Hockey minor leaguer Justin Fontaine received a two-game suspension for a Tweet about the Foo Fighters with the same f-word used by Nguyen during the Grammies.
So what should the US Soccer Federation and Major League Soccer do? Should they do more, or is the way Nguyen’s situation has been handled both by himself and by the Whitecaps sufficient?
If you have any other thoughts or solutions, please leave them in the comments.
Vancouver’s Metro newspaper covers a bit more of the Whitecaps’ reaction to and handling of Nguyen’s tweet yesterday, and includes some comments from a conversation with us as well.
The Vancouver Sun also covered the incident, including some comments from the original post on our site.
Hopefully everything else that comes from what happened continues to be positive, as we all work to learn together and keep homophobic language out of soccer.
One thing, however, that I took from both these articles that I hope we can express to the Whitecaps, is that this is not a time for social media education, it’s a time for inclusive language education.
We were on a high for so much of the day since when we announced Vancouver Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit joined our Soccer Allies list. But we hit a low at the end of the day when we saw that one of his newest teammates Lee Nguyen called keeper Brad Knighton a “fagggggggg” on Twitter.
He quickly backed off the original Tweet with a series of “jk” but the fact of the matter remains that the word was used and such language is unacceptable from soccer players who so many young fans look up to and emulate. This is the kind of thing that the English FA fines players thousands of pounds for doing.
CNN contributor Roland S. Martin has been suspended from the news network in light of his Super Bowl tweet suggesting you smack anyone at your party into the David Beckham underwear ad. From their statement:
“Roland Martin’s tweets were regrettable and offensive. Language that demeans is inconsistent with the values and culture of our organization, and is not tolerated. We have been giving careful consideration to this matter, and Roland will not be appearing on our air for the time being.”
The full story can be found on The Huffington Post.
We already knew the selection of Russia and Qatar for the 2018 and 2012 FIFA World Cups, respectively, raised numerous civil rights questions.
But now the city of Saint Petersburg, one of the sites for Russia’s turn at hosting, has enacted a bill imposing fines of $16,700 for “public activities promoting homosexuality (sodomy and lesbianism), bisexualism and transgender identity.”
Advocacy groups are calling the legislation a “gay gag order” and it would ban any gay pride events in the city. The fine under the current legislation is ten times what it was when it was under consideration last year.
Bravo, FIFA. Bravo, Sepp.
(H/T @sixpackage on Twitter)
We started the Allies List four weeks ago today, and what was originally thought would be a small corner of this website has grown and flourished beyond all expectations.
Originally intended for individuals, we are immensely proud that eight Supporters Groups representing seven MLS teams have signed on in addition to 20 current players, six alumni, 46 media entries, seven team staff, and one soccer-loving politician.
My favorite television show is The West Wing. And one of my favorite exchanges in the entire series went something like this:
Leo McGarry (to Admiral Percy Fitzwallace, who is black): Hey Fitz…
McGarry: The President’s personal aide, they’re looking at a kid. You have any problem with a young black man waiting on the President?
Fitzwallace: I’m an old black man and I wait on the President.
McGarry: The kid’s gotta carry his bags…
Fitzwallace: Are you gonna pay him a decent wage?
Fitzwallace: Gonna treat him with respect in the workplace?
Fitzwallace: Then why the hell should I care?
McGarry: That’s what I thought.
Fitzwallace: I got some real, honest-to-God battles to fight, Leo. I don’t have time for the cosmetic ones.
That’s how I felt when I heard about this Roland Martin kerfuffle. Is the guy a dipshit? Of course. Is it worth the anger and agitation that some are trying to stir up? No.
Last week I read the New Yorker piece about the last days of Tyler Clementi. Clementi, you’ll recall, was the Rutgers freshman who killed himself after being spied on by his roommate while he was with another guy. The New Yorker article outlined the on-again, off-again homophobia of Clementi’s roommate Dharun Ravi and the steps that Ravi took to show off his intolerance of Clementi’s lifestyle. This included tweets that invited followers to spy on Clementi when Ravi knew a sexual rendezvous was going to occur.
It’s a painful read. You know the ending and you want to stop, you beg yourself to stop, but you can’t. It’s like watching a car wreck, only instead of steel and fiberglass, it’s souls and lives. You can’t change the ending, you can only witness it and hope never to see it again.
Harder still to read were the letters written by Tyler’s older brother James. James, who is also gay, compiled a series of notes to his departed kid brother, offering apologies for not being the confident and self-assured older brother Tyler needed. He apologizes for missing Tyler’s violin concerts in their youth. He apologizes for how the only context in which people know Tyler now is through his death. And he apologizes that nobody will get to know the proud and intelligent person Tyler would have been.
There isn’t enough time to give a damn about the Roland Martins of the world, not when there are James Clementis left behind by those who couldn’t hang on.
We don’t have time for the cosmetic battles. There are real, honest-to-God battles still left to win.