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View Article  PG Letter to the Editor on Rene Portland

From today's Sports Mailbag, Harriet L. Schwartz of Squirrel Hill:

Penn State coach Rene Portland is an adult working on a college campus who has created a hostile and intimidating environment for students. As a university educator, she has harassed students, and continues to get away with it. As a longtime educator, I cannot comprehend that a university administration would allow this to continue.

Well put, Harriet.

View Article  PG Sports Guy Jerry Micco Represents Well on Gay Issues

There is nothing earthshattering in the Valentine's Day PG chat transcript featuring Jerry Micco.  He simply makes a few comments about Penn State retaining Rene Portland as their women's basketball coach and former NBA player John Amaechi's coming out.  What's interesting is the opportunity for the rest of us to note that while there is a long way to go, the sports world is not entirely filled with homophobic bigots. 

Sometimes we need to stop and pay attention to these moments, particularly when most of the attention is focused on the stupidity of bigots like former NBA star Tim Hardaway who has recently claimed that he hates gay people. Duly noted Tim.  Thanks for laying your ignorance right out there on the line and getting yourself banished from the NBA All-Star Weekend.  Now if the NBA were to put a little more attention on the bigots who aren't so brazen ...

Back to Micco.  Here's his perspective on Amaechi:

dt: What are your thoughts on Jon Amechi coming out of the closet?

Jerry Micco: Combination of courage and the fact that he wants to sell some books. He wasn't a superstar by any stretch, so the book on its merits doesn't garner much interest until Amaechi says publicly he's gay. Then it's covered heavily by all media. That said, I hope the day comes soon when people don't have to hide this type of thing. I know it's probably not going to happen, but you'd like to think people are tolerant enough to accept folks as they are and judge them on how they treat others and how they do their job on the court, field, etc.

The snark about selling books is most likely not unwarranted.  But consider the two standards he lays out ... how they treat others and how they do their job on the court.  How they treat others comes first.  Consider the implications for Pittsburgh's homegrown football thug Joey Porter who recently used gay slurs.  How is that for treatin' people?  In fact, here's an entire list of anti-gay slurs made by professional athletes.  I'm sure quite a few have good Christian mamas who make them chunky soup every weekend, but they don't treat people so good do they?

Micco also express incredulity over Penn State's retention of Rene Portland:

Ralph: Why does Rene Portland still have a job at Penn State?

Jerry Micco: I'm not sure, Ralph. I really can't answer that question because it mystifies me, too. And it's not like there aren't likely candidates out there that would be great for that job (read: Suzie McConnell Serio), so PSU would not have a tough time filling the post. I'm stunned with all that's surrounded Portland that the University just doesn't cut its ties. Again, rather mystifying to me.

There may be great replacements, but Portland is still a winner.  So why toss her out just for being a homophobe and violating University policy when you can't guarantee a winning replacement?  Its not like Portland offended the base or anything. 

FYI, Suzie McConnell Serio is not exactly rah-rah lesbian material herself.  She's on the record as defining sexual orientation as a "choice" but acknowledging that her player's personal lives are personal.

I suppose that's progress.  It will be nice when more heterosexuals can lay off the uneasy little jabs when discussing homosexuality -- we get that you aren't gay and we certainly get that you aren't comfortable discussing it.  Let's play ball.

View Article  Gene Collier on gays in sports

In today's Post-Gazette, the inimitable Gene Collier takes a shot at figuring at the implication of Penn State's homoconnection to basketball.  Actually, he contrasts the settlement of Jennifer Harris' lawsuit citing PSU coach Rene Portland's homobigotry with the coming out of former PSU bball player John Amaechi.

Let me summarize  - the fact that Amaechi is a gay basketball player should not be a bigger story than the fact the Rene Portland won't let lesbian basketball players on her team. 

"There's this huge assumption that all women athletes are lesbian, while the exact opposite is true of men -- that, if you're an athlete, you couldn't possibly be gay," Heather Barber was saying on the phone yesterday from the University of New Hampshire. "The assumptions are dramatically different, but the way they play out may not be."

Heather studies these things.  That's good to know because I cannot begin to fathom the impact of homophobia in the athletic realm. 

So Jennifer Harris settled and got her little lump settlement.  Rene got a slap on the hand. 

What have the rest of us gained from this sordid little situation? 

View Article  Black AIDS Day, Rene Portland, Snickers and is Prince phallic?

Still not feeling up to par so very light blogging of late.  Here's a few tidbits that I may explore later:

Today (Weds) is the seventh annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.  See Tony Norman's excellent column on this very important topic.

Former Penn State basketball player Jennifer Harris reached a settlement in her discrimination case against Penn State Coach Rene Portland.  Check out Pam's take on the whole thing.  Do we expect things to be different at Penn State or more of the same brazen "I win games so I can do whatever the hell I want" attitude from Coach Portland?  Hmmm ....

Mars company aired what some are calling homophobic commercials during the Superbowl featuring two men accidently kissing after sharing a Snickers bar.  Homo-disgust ensues.  Apparently, the Snickers website featured two other ads with rather violent self-loathing endings and some virulent "ick" factor responses from heterosexual men.  Parody or homophobic?  The Human Rights Campaign called foul.  Mars defended their attempts to reach out to the 18 to 24 year old demographic. 

Speaking of foul, others are criticizing Prince for his phallic imagery during the Superbowl halftime show.  We saw the show and both sniggered at the imagery which appears to be unintentional or at least ironic. But, heck, I still think Justin Timberlake got off easy for ripping off Janet Jackson's clothing simply because he was the innocent white guy duped by the black vixen. 

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