New York Rangers hockey player and team "enforcer" Sean Avery is speaking out in support of gay marriage in New York State as part of an ad series sponsored by the left-wing Human Rights Campaign. He was profiled in glowing terms in a New York Times news story by John Branch in Sunday's sports section, "In Rarity, a Player Speaks Out for Gay Rights." But how have the paper's columnists treated athletes who take conservative stands?
Until now, supporters have come mostly from the worlds of politics, entertainment, theater and fashion. One type of New York celebrity was conspicuously absent: the athlete.
Enter Rangers forward Sean Avery.
He recently recorded a video, becoming one of only a few active athletes in American team sports to voice support for gay rights, and is believed to be the first in New York to publicly advocate for same-sex marriage. No active male player in a major American team sport has declared his homosexuality, and homosexual slurs remain in use to insult opponents and officials.
Avery, a 31-year-old from Pickering, Ontario, has played nine seasons in the N.H.L. Known as a fashion-conscious, on-ice agitator, he has never been afraid of what others think of him.
In his column "Exposing the Truth About Exposing the Truth," New York Times sportswriter Harvey Araton defended his "good friend" Selena Roberts -- a former Times sports columnist now reporting for Sports Illustrated -- from "misogynist ravings" launched after her recent reporting on steroid use by Yankees baseball star Alex Rodriguez.
Roberts has Rodriguez dead to rights on his steroid use and even made him cough up a public apology for previously lying about it. But Araton failed to reveal his former colleague's own sexist attacks and unfair persecution of Duke lacrosse players when they were falsely accused of raping a stripper in 2006. The case fell apart, and the Times, which pushed hard for the prosecution on its front page, came off looking both vengeful and pathetic.
Sports Illustrated’s Selena Roberts, when asked during an interview on the SI website about the future of softball as an Olympic competition on Thursday, added some liberal commentary into her prediction about the sport’s redemption: "One other wildcard for 2016 is the exit of the Bush administration. The undercurrent of anti-Americanism within the IOC, which some say has hurt the U.S. because of its softball dominance, may abate somewhat with a potential administration led by Barack Obama, a rock star in Europe."
This comment came at the end of an interview about the U.S. team losing in the gold medal match to Japan. This is the last Olympics for both softball and baseball since the International Olympic Committee decided to eliminate it for the 2012 Games in London.
On Sunday, law professor Jeffrey Rosen reviewed for the New York Times the new book "Until Proven Innocent -- Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case," by Stuart Taylor & KC Johnson, which, among bringing other injustices surrounding the case to light, also excoriates the mainstream press's shoddy coverage, much of which presumed the guilt of the three white lacrosse players.
Rosen called the book "riveting," but devoted just two sentences to the frequent passages that rip apart the Times's shoddy coverage of the case, taking particular aim at reporter Duff Wilson and columnist Selena Roberts.
Does liberal New York Times columnist Selena Roberts have a double standard for white/blacks accused of crimes? A review of her recent work makes that conclusion hard to escape.
Earlier this year, Roberts wrote passionately (if incorrectly) regarding the three falsely accused Duke lacrosse players in the Times's once-august pages. One of her main themes was that the lacrosse players were engaging in a wall of silence designed to protect the guilty. She condemned this behavior in very strong terms, even using the illustration of a gang member wearing a "Stop Snitching" T-shirt on her first article, published on March 31, 2006. In this she portrayed them as equally despicable and in fact equivalent to those gang members who discourage snitching to the authorities with threats of physical violence.
See incredible Roberts double-standard Update at foot.
Michael Vick, victim. That's how Selena Roberts's article in today's New York Times largely portrays the NFL QB accused of involvement with dogfighting. The article's headline sets the tone: Vick Is Trapped in His Circle of Friends.
The crooked circle Michael Vick drew around himself has tripped and squeezed him.
The first to fail Vick was Davon Boddie, a cousin and personal chef. His marijuana possession charge in April led police to a white house with black buildings behind it on Moonlight Road in Surry County, Va. [Darn that Davon. If only he hadn't been busted on the pot charge, Vick might have been able to continue -- allegedly -- killing dogs that didn't make the grade.]
After sliming the Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of raping a stripper, Times sports columnist Selena Roberts returned to school on Wednesday with "A First Class Response to a Second-Class Putdown," about the Don Imus-Rutgers University women's basketball team controversy, in which the talk radio host denigrated the team by referring to them as "nappy-headed ho's." Roberts gushed about the Rutgers' players speaking truth to power:
"Of grace and dignity, without a single boob joke for ratings or a raunchy sidekick for on-air laughs, the women wearing Rutgers scarlet managed to capsize society’s power differential yesterday….But possessing the power differential means bullying someone your own size. With the ear of a national audience, Imus denigrated women who have revealed the courage to play a sport in its pure, fundamental form even though it is often branded inferior to the dunk style of men. The gals absorb enough put-downs as it is."
This marks huge hypocrisy on the part of Roberts, given that in the Duke lacrosse case, she eagerly sided with two separate bases of "power "-- an out-of-control local prosecutor, Michael Nifong, who now faces an ethics complaint from the North Carolina state bar*, as well as a politically correct college faculty and administration eager to side with what they considered an oppressed minority victim.