Two seemingly unrelated incidents happened in two different sports over the last few days but make no mistake they are related.
First, the NHL and NHLPA announced late last week that they are partnering with the You Can Play Project, an organization aimed at eliminating homophobia in athletics. You Can Play founder Patrick Burke, son of former Leafs GM Brian Buke, said it’s only a matter of time before a gay pro athlete steps forward and both professional sports and society will be ready to accept it. “We’re always going to have some meatheads,” he told TSN. “But I’m not worried about them. We’ve got the vast majority of NHL fans (who) have our back and we have theirs.”
Over to Major League Soccer game between the Portland Timbers and San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night. Quakes forward Alan Gordon got in a tussle with Portland’s Will Johnson and seemingly tossed a certain f-word gay slur Johnson’s way. Traditionally, this has been unfortunately common in every sport. An effeminate substitute for a–hole, perhaps. You want evidence of progress? Well, first there’s MLS’ zero tolerance rule when it comes to certain insults. And then there’s Johnson taunting Gordon by holding up three fingers to represent the typical three-game suspension for such behaviour. And THEN Johnson stepped up and did this:
Boom. 1-0 Timbers. Good night.