Here in America we have Kobe Bryant, adored by millions, calling a referee a ‘fag’ because he didn’t like the call. And we have many basketball fans asking, ‘What the big deal? The ref is a fag.’
We ought to try something new. Something like, say, they do in Brazil.
|Santos and the team libero|
In Brazil, volleyball player Michael Santos, a a middle blocker from Team Vôlei Futuro, was playing in s semifinal match between against Sada Cruzeiro when fans began chanting homophobic slurs towards him. They were screaming “Bicha! Bicha! Bicha!” which means “faggot” in English.
At the time, Santos called the incident very traumatic and feared the same thing might happen again. He said he tried pretending he couldn’t hear the taunts, but he could.
And he could have shouted back, and called them names, but after the game, when his own teammates checked to make sure he was okay, Michael Santos decided shouting back and swearing at the fans wasn’t what was needed.
Instead, he stared then straight in the face and admitted that, yes, he is a gay man. “I’m gay. Everyone knows who I am. My team fully respects my sexuality. I have been playing for 10 years and everyone has treated me well and fair. I do not feel the need to let everyone know about my sexuality.”
Fast forward to the next semi-final match, and see how quickly fans and Santos’ teammates responded to the issue. His team wore pink warm-up shirts to show support, and the team’s libero–the team’s defensive player–donned a rainbow jersey during the match.
Not to be outdone, the crowd unfurled a gigantic banner reading Vôlei Futuro Against Prejudice…
And then began waving pink thundersticks emblazoned with Michael’s name to turn the stadium pink.
In support of a gay player.
Not as a joke or an insult,
Kobe Bryant could learn a lesson.
Oh yeah, Michael Santos and Team Vôlei Futuro won that match.