By: Eric Thomas

There are plenty of reasons to like Justin Verlander. He’s the best pitcher in the game, he often tells the media how much he loves us Tiger fans, Kate Upton. He will likely be the highest paid pitcher in the game until Clayton Kershaw signs (unless he has the kind of year that Bill James and Steamer are projecting). When all is said and done, his name will likely be sung in the wind along with players like Yzerman and Alan Trammel.

Then, in an interview on CNN, Verlander was asked if the Tiger clubhouse could accept a gay teammate. He said, “Yeah, I don’t see why not, given the right situation, and a team that’s a family atmosphere, and I feel like we have that atmosphere here. I don’t think one of our players would be scared to come out.”

He even solves homophobia! We need to get JV to Washington so he can work on the sequester.

It’s odd that this is even part of the culture. We’ve been subjected to this ridiculous back and forth, releasing mine shaft canaries into some other new space to see if people with a different sexual orientation are accepted in a place or not. What difference does it make? How you feel about homosexuality has nothing to do with the gay person and has everything to do with you.

Many people press their hands to their chests and tell you that they cannot accept it. It makes some people uncomfortable. Society can no longer listen to the detractors. If you have a problem with gay people, that’s on you. The entire world can’t act a certain way because of how you feel about it. No one promised you a life bereft of embarrassment or comfort.

Some people feel their kids might be influenced by seeing gay people holding hands. Let me help you with something; if your son or daughter’s sexuality was hanging by so thin a thread that the sight of two men holding hands might drive it over the edge, they’re gay. If they are, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. They are perfectly normal people with preference and you’re going to love them anyway.

You’ve got to like Verlander’s answer, but shouldn’t we wonder about the more obvious question? Why does this matter at all? The only argument I’ve heard is that gay presence in a pro locker room might make athletes uncomfortable. Apparently their multimillion dollar salaries and legions of fans aren’t enough. They are unbreakable little eggs that can meet nary a moment of discomfort?

If you’re homophobic, you need to ask yourself why. There’s nothing wrong with a moment of reflection. It’s not illegal to think and now that JV has said this, let’s try thinking. Why are you homophobic? An even more pertinent question might be: What has it got to do with you? Someone whom you have never met is out in the ether making decisions about his or her life, how does that affect you? When you stammer and state that you have a problem with homosexuals, to whom are you appealing? On whose behalf do you make that statement? Are you really saying, out loud in American English, that you intend not only to pry into someone’s personal life, uninvited, and demand changes? How in the world would you ever benefit from that? Is your life so bereft of problems that you must now solve the problems of others?

The media has been bubbling the last few weeks that there should be more athletes expressing an accepting tone about homosexuals in sports. It should make us proud that JV heeded the call. Now if only everyone else could do the same and just stay out of other people’s business.


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