LOS ANGELES—It shouldn't have been that big a deal — we all ought to have nodded in instant agreement — but Monday's commentary by Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen (pictured, left) on Missouri defensive end Michael Sam (pictured, right), who just outed himself as gay, was something special, and everybody knows it.
Hansen himself said he is surprised by the outpouring of support he has received since he made his stoic and yet breathtakingly moving commentary on air, but we aren't. Perhaps it was his matter-of-fact manner, or the toughness with which he delivered an editorial of stunning sensitivity, or maybe simply the fact that he is, as fellow Dallas writer Jim Schutze put it, "a role model for us old white guys," but when Hansen uttered his "tirade" as if he had committed it to heart, which is truly from where it emanated, we would have been surprised if the world did not respond in kind. Some things just cut through all the bullshit.
Like Schutze, we believe this commentary is worth reading and watching, so, like him, we will reprint it here in its entirety with an addition link to HuffPo, where it can be seen in its full two-minute glory.
And make no mistake, Hansen's words transcend sports. In fact, for many people in the adult entertainment industry, there are profound lessons to be learned from this "old white guy" as well. Too many of us have forgotten that acceptance and tolerance of others is something people in porn should be more sensitive to than others who work in less vulnerable industries.
Indeed, Hansen's own words are as applicable to porn as they are to professional sports. Speaking of the ease with which "we" accepted abject racism in sports over the decades because "we were being told that black players couldn't play in 'our' games because it would be 'uncomfortable,'" Hansen observes with brutal clarity, "So many of the same people who used to make that argument (and the many who still do) are the same people who say government should stay out of our lives. But then want government in our bedrooms. I've never understood how they feel 'comfortable' laying claim to both sides of that argument."
Needless to say, few businesses can understand the full peril of having government in your bedroom as much as this one can. But it took an old white guy from Dallas, a sportscaster no less, to express with such sublime simplicity the shame of individual and institutional intolerance. It is for that reason that, as he so rightly celebrates Michael Sam, we likewise celebrate Dale Hansen.
Hansen's commentary from Monday is reprinted here in its entirety:
It was quite a weekend.
That little dust-up in Lubbock Saturday night, and then on Sunday, Missouri's All-American defensive end Michael Sam—the SEC's defensive player of the year and expected to be a third to fifth-round pick in the NFL draft—tells the world he's gay.
The best defensive player in college football's best conference only a third to fifth round NFL pick? Really? That is shocking, and I guess that other thing is, too.
Michael Sam would be the first openly gay player in the NFL; says he knows there will be problems ... and they've already started.
Several NFL officials are telling Sports Illustrated it will hurt him on draft day because a gay player wouldn't be welcome in an NFL locker room. It would be uncomfortable, because that's a man's world.
You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft.
You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome.
Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome.
Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away?
You lie to police trying to cover up a murder?
We're comfortable with that.
You love another man? Well, now you've gone too far!
It wasn't that long ago when we were being told that black players couldn't play in "our" games because it would be "uncomfortable." And even when they finally could, it took several more years before a black man played quarterback.
Because we weren't "comfortable" with that, either.
So many of the same people who used to make that argument (and the many who still do) are the same people who say government should stay out of our lives.
But then want government in our bedrooms.
I've never understood how they feel "comfortable" laying claim to both sides of that argument.
I'm not always comfortable when a man tells me he's gay; I don't understand his world.
But I do understand that he's part of mine.
Civil rights activist Audre Lord said: "It is not our differences that divide us. It's our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences."
We've always been able to recognize 'em. Some of us accept 'em.
And I want to believe that there will be a day when we do celebrate 'em.
I don't know if that day's here yet. I guess we're about to find out.
But when I listen to Michael Sam, I do think it's time to celebrate him now.