Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels and Wiki
A young gay US basketball fan says he is angry after finding at least 78 "shocking" homophobic tweets from 36 professional players across 28 teams in the States.
'Chris' - not their real name - found the tweets from some of their favourite players in the NBA after noticing some homophobic tweets and wanting to explore further.
Using search terms such as 'f*g' and 'gay' they found that 70 of the 78 tweets found were sent between 2009 and 2018. The 'F- word' was in 29 tweets, 'gay' was used in a pejorative or offensive way in 40 and 'no homo was used 17 times.
"The culture of homophobia in sports runs very deep"
Speaking to OutSports about their findings, Chris says "It was shocking but not surprising," and that "The culture of homophobia in sports runs very deep, especially in a hyper-masculine league like the NBA."
He tells the outlet (which has verified Chris' identity and is protecting it) that he spent a weekend searching for the aforementioned terms because he wanted to root for "the right people". Chris' aim with coming forward about these tweets is simple: accountability.
It is noted that the majority of the tweets got zero to little interaction at the time they were posted, but one by the then Oklahoma City Thunder player Kevin Durant from 2009. which included the words "shut up f*g boi" had more than 7,500 retweets and 6,600 likes.
Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunders in 2010 (Photo: Wiki)
Since being made aware of OutSports' coverage, the tweet and others like it has been removed. OutSports reports having screenshots of all the tweets, however.
The most horrifying tweet was posted by Torrey Craig, 31, now with the Phoenix Suns, who said in 2011: "All gay n****s need a bullet put in their head!"
Other players implicated include:
- Patrick Beverley of the Minnesota Timberwolves, who tweeted 'f*g' 13 times in 2011 having been in the league since 2009.
- Four players in each of the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz posted anti-gay tweets.
- The Chicago Bulls currently has three players who tweeted homophobic messages.
- Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Zach LaVine, and JaVale McGee all represented the US at the Tokyo Olympics.
Jason Collins (Photo: Wiki)
Jason Collins, who became the first active NBA player to come out as gay in 2013, says attitudes have changed and more people know people who are openly LGBTQ. He also remembers hearing words used in the locker room but argues that "some of those same guys who I heard using those words were some of my biggest supporters — allies who had my back."
He adds: "Speaking from my experience, there is a disconnect sometimes between someone who uses casual homophobia, and then once you show them who you are, they will step up and have your back."
Derrick Gordon, who publicly came out publicly while playing basketball at UMass and now plays professionally in Germany says: "I don’t care how long ago it was, it shows the person’s character, in my opinion. It’s a slap in the face to me, to other people in my community. That’s disrespectful. I’m not for people losing their jobs, but words like that can’t be tolerated."
Attitude's new-look March/April issue is out now.