Football is totally not gay

I’m a huge college football fan. I have a copy of the ESPN College Football Encyclopedia which I cherish like it was my own son. I regularly check several sports websites and blogs to hear the latest news about new commitments, injuries, conference realignment, BCS reform, etc. I love watching the OU Sooners and OSU Cowboys play. It’s awesome. College football rocks.

But here’s the thing. Like most excessively “manly” activities, it’s pretty homoerotic. Just try describing what it looks like without sounding gay. Watch any football game, and you’ll see big, beefy, sweaty men in tight pants wrestling each other to the ground, slapping each others’ asses, all trying to get “penetration” behind the “tight end” to go into the “end zone” for a “touchdown.” It’s super gay.

This, of course, doesn’t bother me one bit, because I have nothing against homosexuals and feel entirely secure and unthreatened in my heterosexuality even in the presence of something incredibly gay. The problem with football, though, is the central problem in many forms of unreflectively “manly” activities–it’s loaded with homoerotic undertones, and the people involved are often very homophobic.

Take this asshole, for example:

Nebraska assistant coach Ron Brown says he’ll keep speaking out against homosexuality even if it costs him his job.

Well, at least he’s got his priorities straight. Hmmmm, continue to feed your family, or say hateful shit about gays? The choice should be obvious. I’m sure the kids will find something to eat on their own. On an unrelated note, has anybody seen the cat?

“To be fired for my faith would be a greater honor than to be fired because we didn’t win enough games,” Brown said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I haven’t lost any sleep over it. I realize at some point, we live in a politically correct enough culture where that very well could happen.”

This is a common trope for fundamentalists. Portray oneself simultaneously as the mighty hero standing up for God, and as the vulnerable, helpless victim being persecuted just for believing. You get the best of both worlds: You can impress people by being a dick, and earn sympathy by being a pussy. Just ignore that tingling sensation of cognitive dissonance welling up in your anterior cingulate cortex. There’s no contradiction here. And this behavior, of course, is not at all androgynous.

But you gotta love the fantasy world fundamentalists construct for themselves. Petty, small-minded, childish behavior like hating someone for being different is, in this dumbshit’s mind, a noble crusade that makes him a hero in a cosmic war between good and evil. While scientists find cures for diseases, activists feed starving children in Africa, and firemen put their lives on the line to pull people from burning buildings, this guy says hateful things about gay people and might lose his job for it. I think we know who the real hero is. (Hint: It’s the one who likes giving butt-slaps to big, sweaty men who are half his age.) But, anyways, it’s all the fault of “a politically correct culture”. By which he means “a culture where, thankfully, people who are smarter, more reasonable and more compassionate than Coach Butt Slap have generally prevailed in getting equal rights for oppressed minorities.”

That said, I don’t think he should necessarily be fired just for saying bigoted things, unless they were so over the top as to embarrass the university (keep in mind, this is Nebraska, so they’d have to be pretty over the top). The first amendment applies to stupid bigots, too, so he has the right to say what he wants. If this is just about speech, then it’s not that big of a deal…

He has been under fire recently for testifying against an anti-discrimination ordinance that extended protections to gay and transgender people.

Wait! He was testifying to the Lincoln city council???

Brown — in a decision he said he now regrets — gave Memorial Stadium in Lincoln as his address of record. Baier said some people could have inferred he was representing the university, not just himself, when he appeared before the council. She said Brown’s continued employment creates an atmosphere hostile to gay student-athletes.

And he listed a public school building as his address???

So “speech” must be fundie for “Influencing legislation to discriminate against hated minorities while acting in one’s official, state-funded capacity.” And you gotta love how this guy is whining about “politically correct culture” when the goal he’s striving for is to make sure it remains legal to discriminate against people just because you don’t like what they do with their genitals when you’re not around.

“The question I have for you all is, like Pontius Pilate, what are you going to do with Jesus?” Brown asked. “Ultimately, if you don’t have a relationship with him, and you don’t really have a Bible-believing mentality, really, anything goes… At the end of the day it matters what God thinks most.”

The city fucking council has no fucking business asking what fucking Jesus Haploid Christ thinks about fucking anything. And apparently “God” is fundie for “I”.

Oh, and if I were Pontius Pilate, I would let Jesus go, because I oppose the death penalty and support free speech. But beyond that, fuck ‘im.

As for the “anything goes” horseshit, I can’t help but notice that the people at Penn State (including JoePa himself) were Christian too. And they looked the other way when a coach raped a boy in the locker room. Or is “teh gay” okay when it’s in the locker room, Coach Butt Slap?

It was just six months ago that Brown earned national acclaim for leading a prayer for healing at midfield before the Cornhuskers’ game at scandal-torn Penn State.

I fucking hate this shit, and it goes right back to my earlier point about how people lionize their own petty, futile actions. Let’s set aside for a moment that both Nebraska and Penn State are public schools and Coach Butt Slap is a public employee, making this prayer completely unconstitutional.  This guy earned national acclaim for doing nothing. Prayer doesn’t accomplish shit. It won’t bring justice for the victims. It won’t erase the deep psychological scars they’ve received because a bunch of Christians looked the other way. It won’t do anything to prevent future predators from harming kids. In fact, the mentality of “Talking to my invisible friend solves problems” is part of why problems persist.

All his prayer accomplished was to convince a bunch of people who have done nothing (including himself) that they’re so special and contributed so much. It’s childish bullshit. The only actual good that might have come of it was to help quell some of the psychological turmoil that the Penn State players were certainly experiencing. The players were not responsible and were mostly powerless to do anything. Speaking of which…

“Why don’t you ask me why I hired him?” [Head Coach Bo] Pelini said. “I hired him because he’s a good football coach. He’s trustworthy. He has a lot of integrity. I hired him because I believe in him as a football coach and a guy who has positive impact on kids.”

Pelini said he knows Brown injects religion into his relationships with his players and none have complained.

None of them complained? What a fucking shock. If none of the mostly helpless players complained about the man who holds their futures in his hands proselytizing to them while on his government paid job, then it must be the case that Nebraska’s football team is 100% Christian. Not a Jew, Muslim, atheist or Scientologist among them.

This is analogous to the CEO who sexually harasses and intimidates female underlings whose livelihoods depend on keeping their job, and then points to a lack of complaints as evidence that no one has a problem with it. “Well, no one complains that I refer to promotions as ‘blowjob incentivization’, so there must be no objection to it.” A player from a minority religion who doesn’t want to hear Jesus bullshit at his publicly funded place of education (which is entirely his right per the Establishment Clause and the 14th amendment) would be scared to speak up, given that the coaches could yank his scholarship or turn the other players against him on a whim. Pelini is being ignorant and/or disingenuous.

Brown acknowledges that he uses his position as a platform for his ministry. He sprinkles in football metaphors during his many speaking engagements and sometimes references the players he’s coached.

He said the risk of losing his job pales in comparison to the price others have paid for standing up for their beliefs. Christians throughout the world, he pointed out, have been murdered because of their faith.

So have atheists. The difference between me and him, though, is that I don’t use it as an excuse to prevent anti-discrimination laws from passing. The anti-discrimination laws also protect Christians. I think that’s great. They should be protected from discrimination. So should Muslims, Jews, atheists, blacks, women, Hispanics, the handicapped, immigrants, and, yes, gays. (But not Longhorns fans. Fuck them.)

“The same thing that was a sin 2,000 years ago is a sin today,” Brown said. “The thing that was right 2,000 years ago is right today.”

There’s actually no Bible verse in the New Testament that condemns homosexuality in general. There’s the beginning of Romans, where pagan orgies involving homosexuality are condemned. And there are verses (such as 1 Corinthians 6:9) that condemn those described as “µαλακός” or “ἀρσενοκοίτης”, but these don’t constitute unambiguous condemnations of homosexuality either. Mαλακός is sometimes translated as “effeminite” or “homosexual offenders” in the Bible, but it really just means “soft”. Aristotle used it to refer to cephalopods (squids and octopuses, not nautiluses, according to the biology of the time) because they were all soft parts (it could be translated as “softies” in Aristotle’s biological works), and elsewhere in the Bible it’s used to describe soft linens. The only place it means “gay” according to translators is when it occurs all by itself in a Pauline epistle. Not very convincing. As for ἀρσενοκοίτης, it’s an agglutination of the words for “man” and “bed”. While it definitely seems to have possible homosexual connotations it could just as easily mean male prostitutes. Paul is the only Greek author to use the word as far as I know–maybe it’s just a Pauline neologism, and given that it’s offered with no context, who the hell knows what it means.

The Old Testament does unambiguously call homosexuality a sin (an “abomination”, using the same Hebrew word to describe eating shrimp, which is deceptively translated as “unclean” in this case). In fact, homosexuality is one of numerous OT sins that receive the death penalty. Of course, absolutely nobody follows OT law by the letter any more (not even Hassidic Jews), and a Christian who eats bacon and wears mixed fabrics and doesn’t kill his teenage son for being a disobedient drunk has no business referring to the OT as absolute, literal truth that must be followed to the letter.

So, long story short–Coach Butt Slap needs a few lessons in history, hermeneutics and Biblical exegesis.

“The scriptures teach that blacks were created by God, that women were created by God, but that homosexuals … that is not what God had in mind at all,” Brown said.

So, then, who did create them? Taylor Lautner?  The Marquis de Sade? Aristophanes in Plato’s Symposium? Flaminicus, the Roman god of sparkle?

Brown said his words should not be interpreted as an attack on homosexuals.

So if I argued that the law shouldn’t prohibit discrimination against Christian assholes, you wouldn’t see that as an attack?

“I have simply said that based on the Bible, homosexuality, the lifestyle of homosexuality, is a sin,” he said. “That has created a flame within itself. But I’ve decided I’m not going to be afraid of people calling me a bigot or a homophobic [sic] or narrow-minded out of a simple, gentle, compassionate expression of the truth of God’s word. I’m not going to be bought off by that.”

Okay. According to Coach Butt Slap, the following is a “simple, gentle, compassionate expression of the truth of God’s word”: It’s okay to discriminate against someone if they’re gay. In other words, “simple” means “bigoted”, “gentle” means “homophobic”, and “compassionate” means “narrow-minded” in fundie speak. Of course he’s not afraid of being called those things–they’re exactly what he means.

Worst of all, Coach Butt Slap isn’t even the most hideous, repugnant thing in the article:

Brown has been an assistant at Nebraska under three head coaches, starting with Tom Osborne in 1987. He was let go when Bill Callahan replaced Frank Solich in 2004. Bo Pelini, who took over for Callahan in 2008, rehired Brown.

Fuck you, Callahan, you worthless nut-juggling butt-viking! You’re worse than Coach Butt Slap! You’re worse than Hitler! You’re worse than Butt Slap Hitler! No human being could ever sink lower in my estimation than your opprobrious and incompetent ass…

At a time when Tim Tebow‘s faith has been the subject of admiration and ridicule, there are those who like the fearlessness Brown shows going against the grain of what they say is a culture out to marginalize religion and unwilling to define right and wrong.

I stand corrected.


10 responses to “Football is totally not gay

  1. When I was a kid I liked playing football; even today, I love to throw a football around with someone. But I never really enjoyed watching games unless I knew one of the players irl and had some reason to root for them. Otherwise, the only time I can get into watching football is for the annual Army/Navy game, — or the Super Bowl (but even then, I’m mostly just in it for the half-time show, lol.)

    You make a lot of good points about the sheer arrogance of people like Coach Brown; I wouldn’t go so far as to equate him to Hitler, though. Still, as an American, it really pisses me off the extent to which self-professed religious ‘fundamentalists’ poison political debates with their ideologies of hatred against lgbt people, or anyone else, ftm. And WhyTF are guys like Coach Brown allowed to push their religious views as public employees? It makes no sense! He’s supposed to be teaching football, not sharing the Gospel. Maybe he’d be happier working for Oral Roberts University (do they even have a football team?) Ironically, in many places (such as in TX, where I’m from, orginally) football itself is almost a religion; why screw it up with Xianity?

    Anyway, I enjoyed your article. Very funny, excellent criticism.


    • Thank you very much. 🙂
      The Hitler stuff was just a lame joke. I don’t seriously believe that a homophobic football coach is comparable to Hitler.

      I would have considerably less of a problem with this guy if he worked at a private school. If he worked at Notre Dame or Baylor or TCU or BYU, he’d have every right to inject religion into his interaction with players. But at a public school, what he’s doing is just wrong.

      I know all about football as a religion, being from Oklahoma. At a bar that I used to hang out at in Oklahoma City, a man got his scrotum ripped apart (needing 60 stitches) just for wearing a Texas Longhorns t-shirt. I don’t go to that bar any more. I love razzing the hated Longhorns like and Okie, but direct personal injury to the ball sac is going a little too far. 😯

  2. MMA is way gayer. Btw, the first paragraph. I believe you mean ‘hear’ not ‘here.’ You need to have people read yourself before you post them so assholes like me don’t play Lou Grant to your writing.

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