We Still Have A Long Way To Go

Slowly — all too slowly — we make progress on basic issues of treating everyone the same, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, and other characteristics.  Often, we stop and proudly congratulate ourselves on our enlightenment, and then, inevitably, something happens that shows that we aren’t quite as enlightened as we thought after all.

Consider the report ESPN ran recently concerning Michael Sam, the first admittedly gay man to play in the National Football League.  Sam, a linebacker, was a fine player in college.  He sacked Johnny Manziel of the Browns in the Rams’ most recent preseason game, but rather than reporting on Sam’s on-the-field performance the ESPN reporter addressed whether Sam was showering with his teammates — and thereby indulged in some of the most benighted stereotypes imaginable.  It’s amazing that such a report made it on the air, through who knows how many layers of editors and producers and anchors and production assistants, without someone at the network recognizing how demeaning and insulting it was, but it did.  To its credit, ESPN recognized that the report was an egregious blunder and apologized, but you still wonder how it happened in the first place.

One of Sam’s St. Louis teammates, defensive tackle Chris Long, tweeted:  “Dear ESPN, Everyone but you is over it.”  I wish that were true.

The Pride Parade

When you go to the office in downtown Columbus on Saturdays, as I frequently do, you never know what you might find.  Today, it was the Columbus Pride Parade, running on High Street from downtown Columbus to Goodale Park.

As I’ve mentioned before, Columbus is very proud of its gay community and its status as a gay-friendly city, and the GLBT community and its friends and supporters were out in force for today’s parade.  It was a beautiful sunny day and large crowds lined both side of High Street as a long line of paraders marched and rolled past.  There was lots of hooting and hollering and hugging, and some spectacular costumes and floats, all done with a dash of humor.

Events like the Pride Parade help to make Columbus an interesting, inclusive place to live.