Monday, December 31, 2012

So what did you mean, Torii?

Ok, I'm a Royals fan, which means I hate all things Minnesota Twin (sorry, Dan), so keep that in mind. Torii Hunter was a Twin. (He's now a Tiger, which isn't much better, but at least he's not a White Sock.) Which means I'm inclined to view a situation in the light least favorable to Hunter.

Torii Hunter is also someone who has been on the wrong side of an interview controversy before. When the story of that previous interview came out, Hunter naturally insisted he had been misquoted, taken out of context, etc. Which makes it a little easier to scoff at when he reportedly makes other controversial statements and then responds by insisting, again, that he wasn't treated fairly by the reporter. Or maybe it just means that reporters are expecting him to say controversial things and are more inclined to hear implications that aren't there?

Today's story is on the topic of gay athletes in pro sports. An LA Times reporter published a story on  Saturday questioning whether we will ever see an out gay athlete in pro sports. (Surely we can all agree that there undoubtedly have been gay male athletes sprinkled throughout MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, etc. history. They just haven't been out while playing.) One athlete interviewed for the article was Torii Hunter.

Hunter was quoted as saying that it would be "uncomfortable" for him to have a gay teammate. The reporter writes that Hunter indicated he thought a gay teammate could divide a team. Hunter's claimed explanation is that as a Christian, he believes biblically that homosexuality is not right.

Naturally, Hunter has subsequently issued a statement that he was taken out of context and that he's a very tolerant, loving person. I can't help but notice, though, that he doesn't deny making the statements, just that they were really two separate sentences that shouldn't have been combined. And he doesn't explain what the two separate sentences are. "It will be difficult and uncomfortable," is a pretty succinct sentence, so I'm not really sure how it should be separated or interpreted differently. Was he just not talking about having a gay teammate at all in that statement? Many, many people have asked him on twitter to explain what he really said and/or meant (myself included), but he has yet to respond. I wish he would because I would like to have a conversation about why he is seemingly hiding behind his religion to express that being around a gay man would make him "uncomfortable."

I'm going to assume he actually said that, since he didn't deny saying it. So then I want to ask him how he feels about having teammates who cheat on their wives? How does he feel about having teammates who have sex outside of the bonds of matrimony? Because we know he has teammates who commit those actions that the bible tells him are not right. He must have teammates who lie and swear. He probably has had a teammate or two who haven't always done right by their parents. And I'm willing to bet he has had a teammate at some point in time who paid for a woman's abortion. Heck, he himself doesn't keep the Sabbath, because I've personally watched him play baseball on Sunday. So why isn't he uncomfortable having himself as a teammate? I'd also like to ask him whether he thinks his personal comfort level should have anything to do with what kind of lives his teammates live? Does he think a teammate should have to keep certain parts of his life in a closet, so to speak?

What I really want to learn, whether from Torii Hunter or someone else who uses Christianity as an excuse for excluding gays, what is it about homosexuality that makes it this extra special kind of sin that trumps all others? I admit there is a lot about Christianity and biblical doctrines that I don't get, but this one is at the very top. If everyone is a sinner, why does this sin count against people so much more than others? I would have thought murder would be the top one. But this Christian sin thing is only ever cited as an explanation (excuse) for excluding the gays. That makes me uncomfortable.

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