Thursday, May 01, 2014

HRC hosts booksigning for Kate Fagan and "The Reappearing Act"; meantime, gay big league players soothe controversy but a few owenrs' behaviors attracts attention

This evening, I attended a booksigning party at the Human Rights Campaign at Rhode Island Ave. and 17th St. NW in Washington DC, for author Katie Fagan, for her new book “The Reappearing Act: Coming out as Gay on a College Basketball Team Led by Born-Again Christians”, published by Skyhorse.  Kate is a columnist for ESPN.
The audience was mostly women, and the conversation tended to focus on the intricate internal politics of college sports. The author said that there only about 80 job openings a year in college basketball and relatively few go to women. She also indicated that at southern schools (especially in Texas) open lesbians who worked on university coaching staffs had been fired and had no legal protection. 
I brought up the question of big league sports.  That’s especially timely on the race issue this week in the NBA because of the Donald Sterling situation.  On sexual orientation, all major league sports franchises have been developing clauses to end discrimination based on sexual orientation (for links, see the posting here Feb. 25).  The audience indicated that the NFL might be easier to accept gay players than MLB because all NFL players have gone to college.  Baseball, by comparison, requires less physical contact in the sport itself and is more focused on individual performance (especially in pitching and batting).  But it is true that many player come from conservative cultures (like in the Caribbean) and have less education.  It was mentioned that Bryce Harper went to the Nationals with just a GED.  But some players do have degrees and are articulate and well educated  and came through college baseball (Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman and Tim Lincecum).  Like the military, professional teams have to develop cohesion, in an environment where players are often traded and can become free agents.  MLB teams seem more open to “gay nights” at stadiums than the NFL so far, but they have much longer schedules.   

I bought a copy of the book, and gave here a business card for my DADT book.  It was a little pricey in hardcover ($25). I will read it and review it soon.  She mentioned during the reading that finding a publisher interested in women's sports was difficult, but she didn't mention self-publishing. 

Another NBA owner, Richard DeVos, attracted attention for mildly anti-gay remarks (especially about asking for "favors" with gay marriage). CNN has called attention to his behavior in relation to the Sterling case (story). . 

Today I wrote a post on my International Issues blog about the “Dear Russia: It’s Not Okay” campaign on YouTube, with display of a video by Timo Descamps, and some more horrific news from Uganda. 

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