Yeah we know already, if she'd had short hair, chewed tobacco, and spit a lot...
What happened after WNBA basketballer Sheryl Swoopes came out?
Nuthin' evil (but a few extra television interviews). "The league didn't ask for any of her MVP awards back. Her sponsors are still writing her checks. Any initial surprise has quickly turned to a shrug of indifference." So claimed here,
"Times have changed since 1981, when Billie Jean King
lost millions in endorsements after admitting to a lesbian affair." But much has been written
about how male athletes can't come out because they're so butch, as are their toughie team mates, and they'd have a darned harder time.
Truth is, lesbian athletes are easier to cope with. As Boston Celtics
captain Paul Pierce has said,
"Society is more accepting of woman-on-woman sex than man-on-man. Women on women? That’s a man's fantasy right there."
And anyway, there's no surprise. All female athletes are lesbians, aren't they? It's okay as long as it's q-u-i-e-t and they're all girly. (The lengths to which female body builders will go to attempt to feminize their looks are terrifying: we're talking plastic surgery to up boob size, long hair, lots of make-up and come hither pin-up shots.)
When a, well, a bull dyke came out, she was destroyed. "Four in the morning near Istanbul and Latasha Byears is hearing the news for the first time: Sheryl Swoopes has come forward and told the world she is a lesbian. She will hide no longer.
"'Really? Really? Congratulations to Sheryl! I'm proud of her. I'm proud of all those women. Sheryl Swoopes came out? That's lovely. That's a beautiful thing,' Byears says. And then there is weariness in her voice, possibly from the tournament she has just played in Siberia, probably from the last two year s of her life," r eports the New York Daily News.
"It's hard to believe she hadn't heard. This is wonderful for Swoopes, she says, wonderful for the WNBA. 'But my name is Latasha Byears,'
she says, 'and it's totally different.' This 5-11, 200-pound African-American child of Tennessee, now living in Turkey, was once one of only a few women in the WNBA who was open about her homosexuality. But there won't be a rush of congratulations from teammates for her, no lesbian-themed cruise lines seeking her endorsement. She isn't the lipstick lesbian that some of the American public finds palatable; she was the league thug, a tough rebounder who was known as the Dennis Rodman
of the WNBA.
"Byears has tattoos and cornrows and gold teeth, and when she was growing up, she says she wanted to be a pimp. She was also investigated -- although never arrested or charged -- for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting a former teammate during a team party. Byears is suing her old team, the Los Angeles Sparks,
in Los Angeles Superior Court for wrongful termination based on gender and sexual orientation.
"The Sparks ran her out of the league, Byears' suit says, not because of what did or didn't happen at that party, but because she is a lesbian."
As proof, the legal papers point to Kobe Bryant's
treatment. Accused of sexual assault three weeks later, the Los Angeles Lakers athlete was defended and supported. The two teams are corporate siblings, but the difference, Byears claims, is that Bryant is straight. Like Bryant, Byears denies sexually assaulting anyone. But she got tossed off the team and out of her team-owned apartment. When authorities decided not to charge her, she left the country. (Who would want to live with that gossip forever?)
"This is a case that touches on how the WNBA has gone to great lengths to present a 'family' image of its players even as it courts a lesbian-heavy fan base. It is also about how differently male and female athletes are treated in their workplaces. And ultimately, many experts and observers say, it is about how the WNBA's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy has left it in a fragile state as it tries to absorb Swoopes' self-disclosure even as it erases Byears from memory. 'She is too close to the stereotype,' says University of Massachusetts professor Pat Griffin, a consultant on gays in sports, of Byears. 'It's one thing to have a 'good' lesbian. It's another thing to have someone like Latasha Byears.'"
ADDENDUM 1300 hours: Tired of all the seriousness? From Barry Rueger,
a link to always hilarious and terribly smart Mark Morford:
"Accomplishment in male sport lies in direct proportion to virility. Touchdown equals manliness. Slam dunk equals large penis. Home run equals steroid -- er, prowess. There is a very straight (ahem) line between male athletic ability and the theoretical ability to satisfy 20 women in five minutes. Take that macho illusion away and men will simply crumble. The veil will be lifted. There will be no 'pure' male culture, nowhere for boys to turn. Except maybe bowling. Or bass fishing.