Thursday, March 7, 2013

Boys vs. Girls (Gay and Transgender Athletes in America)

Transgender MMA Fighter Fallon Fox

I love living in the 21st century. As a Black man in America I can tell you that I really, really love living in the 21st century. I feel like most Black people have a time travel cut off that ends at about 1980. Yeah, that sounds about right. Anything earlier than that and you'd run into some white people that still weren't acting “right” in some parts of the world. Black Americans have the same rights as everyone else nowadays. Black parents can tell their children, “Yes, baby you can be anything. Even the President” and actually mean it. Gender equality is also better than ever. We still have work to do on both of these issues and it’s a lot better than it was say 20-30 years ago, but there is one last "bridge" of inequality to cross.” That’s the gay and transgender bridge.

Gays in America have come so much further so much faster than I ever thought they would. I always figured the religious “enthusiasts” would keep gays in the closet, but being gay has almost become mainstream. We have gay actors and actresses. We have gay video game characters. We have openly gay politicians and businessmen and women, so it’s not like being gay hurts your career anymore.  I have gay family members and friends and they’re no different than me or you or anyone else. Gay people have the same hopes, fears, dreams and needs as any other American. They just love people of the same sex. That’s all. But for as far as the gay and transgender community has come in America in the last 30 years, they’ve done nothing, and I mean, nothing as far as stepping forward in major professional sports in America.

Culliver, pictured here, has been working hard to repair his image.
As of March 6, 2013, we still don’t have an openly gay male athlete in the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL. (NASCAR still can’t get their stuff together with Blacks and women in their sport, so it’ll be a LONG TIME before we have a gay driver. Too many tracks in the deep-south for that to happen anytime soon.) It’s the one big social issue left for professional athletes to “champion”. Think about it, someone could legitimately become the “Muhammad Ali” or “Jim Brown” of gay rights in America. But when you have people like San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver saying things like, “a gay teammate wouldn’t be welcomed in the locker room” and NFL executives asking draftees they're sexual orientation, you can see why a gay athlete would choose to stay in the closet. (How ironic is that?! Living in San Francisco and saying something about gay people would be like managing a baseball team in Little Havana and supporting Fidel Castro. I mean no one’s that stupid… wait a minute.)  Sadly, I think he was speaking for a lot of other NFL players when he said that because I'm sure most of them probably feel the same way. They’ll never come out and say it though. It’s damn near career suicide for a person to say anything negative about gay people, even if that dislike is based on your religious beliefs. You just seem out of touch and insensitive.

GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is like the NAACP (National Association for The Advancement of Colored People) was during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Much like NAACP would lose their damn minds when a white person did something stupid back in the day, GLAAD does the same thing now. I can’t wait for gay people to stop being so “touchy” about comedians saying things about them, people not liking them, etc. Get over it!! WE ALL CAN BE MADE FUN OF! (Except the “Prophet Who Shall Not Be Name.” He’s off limits! GOD FORBID YOU SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THAT GUY! Can you smell the sarcasm?)

The issue of gays and transgenders in sports came up again recently when it was revealed that a female MMA fighter named Fallon Fox wasn’t always a female. The Florida Boxing Commission is reviewing her license after learning that Fox is a transgender female. Fox told on Monday that she was in fact born a man and had gender reassignment surgery in 2006. Fox revealed this information just two days after she knocked out Ericka Newsome 39 seconds into their quarterfinal bout in Coral Gables, FL.

Fox did make a bit of history as she’s the first transgender fighter to participate in an MMA event. However, Fox put false information on her application when she listed her gender as female. Fox also lied to officials in Florida when she told them she was licensed to fight in California, when her application here is still under review.

Lying about anything on her application should be more than enough to get her disqualified, but being born a man and competing against women in a sport like MMA should be illegal. As in, if you do it, and you don’t tell anyone and you get caught, you go to jail. It’s negligent, irresponsible and down right dangerous. I’m all for women doing just about anything men do, letting transgender people using the bathrooms they want and equal rights across the board, but something like this is a no-go. If you’re born a man, you just have inherent physical abilities a woman doesn’t have. Fox, for the most part, will always be bigger, faster and stronger than anyone she steps in the ring with. It’s not because she’s training harder, but because she has an advantage that her opponents will never have. She’s genetically a man. She’s going to be able to lift heavier weights, grow muscle quicker, take more punishment and deal more damage to anyone she’d ever face. I’m not saying she’s unbeatable, because I’m sure someone like Ronda Rousey can go toe to toe with Fox, but you’re kidding yourself if you say Fox should be allow to get in a ring and fight a “real” woman.

You don’t see women in the NFL or NBA for a reason. They’re just not strong enough or big enough to compete at that level and I don’t think it’ll ever happen. Hell, most of the men that played professional football 50 years ago wouldn’t even see a NFL field today! Title IX was passed to give women a fair chance to play sports and to keep men from unfairly playing against them. Fox falls into that gray area.

Just think about it this way. Say LeBron James comes out and says he wants to become a woman. He does everything it would take to make that possible, joins the WNBA and starts playing there. How many points do you think he’d score a game? 40, 50? It’d be unfair to his teammates and to his opponents because try as they might, they’d never be able to see the results James would from weight lifting and training. They’d never be able to obtain the muscle mass he would. They’d never jump as high or run as fast. Let’s be honest here, he’d make them look downright silly.

In the end, I think Fox is a woman and if that’s how she feels inside, then that’s what she is. I’ve addressed Fox as “she” and “her” throughout this piece. But if my little girl wanted to be an MMA fighter, for whatever reason I don’t know, and she got in the ring with another fighter, got knocked out and beat up badly, then cool. It’s a fight. Someone has to bleed, and someone has to lose. But if I found out my daughter’s opponent use to be a man… then all bets are off and I’m kicking HIS ass.

Time for you guys to sound off. Do you think Fallon Fox should be able to fight women? Do you think I'm right or wrong? Let me know by leaving a comment below and don't forget to subscribe to the blog and follow me on Twitter @ParisLay. Thanks for reading and until next time, ENJOY THE VIEW!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekend Recap

Sometimes I feel like I don’t write about enough topics in sports. With so many different and interesting things happening in the entire sports landscape, I couldn't possibly give you a full and rich post on them all, but I’ve figured out what to do. Why don’t I just do a full post on the WHOLE weekend? Countdown style. So here it goes. These are my top five stories from the weekend in sports.

5: Michigan Beats Michigan State

Trey Burke leads UM over MSU.

Talk about getting a big time victory when you need one. Michigan was falling apart at the worst possible time of the year. They were coming off an ugly lose to Penn State and were losers in three of the last five games, but they righted the ship with a thrilling victory over the number nine Spartans in Ann Arbor Sunday night. Trey Burke proved that he still deserves to be in the National Player of the Year discussion by making every critical play Michigan needed to seal the win.

The Wolverines let a 10-point lead slip away but at this point, a win is a win. If they can win their next two games (At Purdue and home versus Indiana) and make a nice run in the Big 10 tournament, I can’t see why they still couldn’t get a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. (Full disclosure, I’m a huge Michigan fan so I’m more than a little pumped about this win. Give me a second please… I just did a chair dance. GO BLUE!)

4: Rory Withdraws

This is why I love Tiger Woods. I’m sorry to say this, but golf is just better when the “black” guy is good. I’ve got a huge piece coming on the greatest sporting event I’ve seen in my life, so I’m not going to go into too much detail, but I will tell you that it was Tiger Woods’ victory at Torrey Pines in the 2008 US Open. (And saying that is a big deal because 2008 was the greatest year of sports in my lifetime. Go back and look it up. And of course it was the greatest year in sports because I wasn’t even in the United States of America when all that great stuff happened. Thanks Bush, that time I spent in Iraq was super useful… can you smell the sarcasm coming from your computer screen because I can.)

Rory McIlroy takes his ball and goes home.
Tiger Woods won a freaking major championship on one leg! He even played an extra playoff round of golf on that following Monday to boot. People already say golfers aren’t athletes and when the number one player in the world, Rory McIlroy, dips out of a tournament because of a "toothache", that narrative isn’t going to be helped. I always think back to that amazing performance in ’08 when I start to think that golfers aren’t tough. (I wouldn’t walk to the end of my driveway for free money on a torn ACL so I couldn’t imagine walking 18 holes of golf and swing a club. That’s tough!)

McIlory has to at least finish that round out. I’ve had tooth pain before so I know how hard it could be trying to do anything in that kind of pain, much less play a round of golf, but he’s getting paid just for BEING THERE. Fans want to see him play and when you hear that weak excuse, he just comes off like a guy that was having a tough day and decided to throw in the towel. Me, you or any regular Joe Blow and Susie Q, can do that, but not the number one player in the world. Want to hear something even crazier? Dude still cashed his appearance fee check. Rory McIlroy, you’re a true gangsta indeed.

3: Lakers Get Even

It’s about damn time! The Los Angeles Lakers have finally gotten back to .500 after beating the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday. It marks the first time they’ve been at least even in the win-loss column since December 28…of 2012!! Kobe Bryant had a monster game, included a thunderous jam over Josh Smith and the game winning layup with nine seconds left. True, the Lakers were in control for most of the game and they did blow a big lead, but LA still found a way to win a tough game against a quality opponent.

Josh Smith will have nightmares for months.
The team is playing much better over the last 14 games to the tune of a record of 10 wins and 4 losses. They’ve only allowed over 100 points in 5 of those games and they even managed to win one of said games. Kobe’s been on a scoring tear as of late and what makes that so great is they’re actually winning while he’s scoring 30 plus. Something the Lakers hadn’t been doing all season. It seems like they’re finally finding a groove, playing better defense and actually looking like a real “team” for the first time all season.

The Lakers are only three games back of the eight seed in the Western Conference and have the makings of a troublesome team if they can get into the playoffs. I’m still not sure they get in because they need the teams ahead of them to slip a little. This time of year, you’d much rather be in control of your own destiny. But hey, they at least got a shot now.

2: Blackhawks win… Again

These bastards just won’t lose. It’s getting down right comical and I'm honestly not taking it well. The Chicago Blackhawks have yet to lose a game in regulation this season while recording a point in a NHL record 22 straight games to start a season. What really makes this streak mind-boggling is the moment you realize they’re playing this well without the benefit of a full training camp.

Why won't you f*$%ing lose already!!!
The Blackhawks are first in the NHL in goals against with a 1.7 goals allowed per game average, so they’re streak really stands on the amazing play they’ve been getting between the pipes (Pause. For those who don’t know, that’s a hockey term so it’s not “that” bad. I still felt like a “pause” was needed.) from goalie Corey Crawford. My Detroit Red Wings were expected to be the first real road block in Chicago’s road to “perfection”, but the Wings came up short in a shootout.

This team looks ready to make another run at the Stanley Cup. The core of that title team is still intact and still very young. Team captain, Jonathan Toews is only 24 as is Patrick Kane and Crawford is only 28. When all your stars are still on the north side of 30, your team's in great shape. (Damn, I hate you Blackhawks and I truly hope this post jinxes you and you lose. Sincerely, Bitter Red Wings fan.)

1: Heat Win… Again

The Miami Heat are starting to become that unstoppable juggernaut we all feared they’d become when they got together two seasons ago. They’re just on a whole other level right now. They’ve won a franchise record 15 straight games and it’s looking like they could get to at least 17 before they face a team that could actually beat them. (Oddly enough, that team is the last team to beat them, the Indiana Pacers.)

LeBron James has been scary good this season. (27-7-8, 56% from the field and 41% from beyond the 3 point line?! What the hell?! I honestly wouldn’t be surprise if news broke on SportsCenter that dude was an alien sent to Earth from a faraway planet to play basketball and dominate the NBA. He’s so good I’m seriously starting to question if he’s human.) He’s the only player in NBA history that can legitimately guard all five positions, at an All-NBA Defense level no less, he can pass with the best point guards in the league, he’s improved his jump shooting and he drives the lane better than any player in the last 20 years not named Michael Jordan. Remember when people really thought Kevin Durant had a chance at winning the MVP this season. That seems like a really long time ago now. When you see the way James is playing for the defending champs, I’d argue that he should win the award unanimously.

It was just a season ago that this team was still reeling from their embarrassing lost to the Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals and almost lost to the Celtics in six games during last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. The next thing you know, Lebron goes into beast mode, the Heat win game six, win the series, then the Finals and then James leads the USA Team to a gold medal in London. (He seemingly hasn’t come out of beast mode since game six versus the Celtics.) With the pressure of winning that first title finally off his back, Lebron James' is playing that fun loving style of basketball we've come to know from him.
Greatest at its finest. LBJ.

I feel like most of the “heat” (Awesome pun, I know.)  is off of James and the team for this craziness. Just look at the “Harlem Shake” video the Heat released last week. They were about two weeks late, but it still got a ton on buzz. The Heat just look like they’re having a ton of fun together and like that genuinely enjoy just being around each other. (Seeing Miami’s team chemistry makes me so jealous as a Laker fan. The only video I could seriously see the Lakers doing together is snuff film where they torture Mike D’Antoni to death. AND NO THAT’S NOT A GOOD IDEA LAKER NATION.) The only people that don’t like Lebron James are from Ohio... or their name rhymes with “Slip Dayless.”

I think most people just want to marvel at greatness. We’re watching this era’s greatest player, and a top 10 all-time and soon to be top 5 all-time player, during his prime. So enjoy because just like the way my dad gets to rave about how great Wilt Chamberlain was, we'll get to say the same thing about Lebron James one day.

Time to let me know what you guys think. Did I miss a big story from this weekend? What are your thoughts on my list and who do you think has been the best player in the NBA this season?

Leave a comment below and don’t for get to subscribe to the blog and to follow me on Twitter @ParisLay. Thanks for reading and until next time, ENJOY THE VIEW!