Dallas sportscaster: Wifebeaters are welcome in NFL, but not gays?

Dale Hansen, a sportscaster at ABC affiliate WFAA in Dallas, did a wonderfully impassioned commentary about NFL hopeful Michael Sam coming out as gay, and about word from NFL officials that Sam won’t be welcome.

dale-hansen-michael-sam-gay

Watch the video, and read the transcript, below – then please thank Dale Hanse.  We often (rightfully) beat up on people who are bigoted.  We don’t often enough thank those who bravely are not: [email protected]

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.


(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Nathanael

    The propaganda machine of the 0.1% is constantly belting out tales of “special welfare” which “the other guys” supposedly get. This doesn’t actually exist, of course, but the sheeple fall for the scam.

    I’m not sure why they fall for it, but apparently the majority of people are easy to brainwash. As one of the weirdos who has all the traits which make me very hard to brainwash, I find this bizarre and disturbing. The world is a scary place.

  • Nathanael

    Dallas is sprawl. There are burbs and then there are burbs. You might look at some of the maps by election precinct.

  • Sweetie

    Because militaries are about war and war is about plunder. Plunder is the opposite of love.

  • Just_AC

    Just wanted to let anyone still following this story that I sent a “thank you” out to Dale and he had the kindness to reply back

  • Palto

    This is an article about the NFL. Learn how to read Johnson (what a fitting last name).

  • Nick

    This goes to the core reason for homophobia. The homophobes need a whipping boy, someone on the outside to assign all their sins to so they can feel great about themselves. They can do all these truly awful things and then turn around and say, “But, I’m not gay!”

  • AndyinChicago

    No one can say you weren’t thorough. Dallas actually sounds really nice when you describe it. What about the surroundings? The station’s range has got to include the burbs; is Dallas a blue bubble in a sea of red? I liked your belt buckle analogy, and I’m wondering how much of this is very localized.

  • Carl Johnson

    Dale Hansen must be talking about the Kennedys. “You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? … You kill people while driving drunk? That guy’s welcome … caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they’re welcome … accused of rape and pay the woman to go away?” Wonder if Ellen will invite Hansen on her show if the topic is the abuses and excesses of the Kennedys.

  • UncleBucky

    Maybe it’s time for LGBTIQA (add all the letters you like) to settle in Texas and to supplant the bigots….

    To vote for representatives for everyone, not the narrow band of vocal bigots. Eh?

    Maybe so….

  • UncleBucky

    The Myth of “Being a Man” is rapidly drying up and cracking into pieces and the bits fluttering away. Good.

  • Avalon Morley

    Honestly, having grown up in Dallas, and living here intermittently for many years, Dale Hansen has always been a strong, prominent local voice, even to those of us not much into sports. But Dale Hansen reciting a quote from Audre Lorde, of all authors, is not something I EVER expected to hear! Great stuff.

  • Avalon Morley

    I find Dallas and environs more friendly than not on that, with a strong, active lgbtq community. Dallas County itself is politically a blue county, and we’ve had at least two (probably more, but no time now to research) openly gay city council members. Dallas County’s current sheriff, elected in 2004, is Lupe Valdez, a hard-working, sensible lesbian, whose election was at least one consolation on that awful night that Pres. Bush was re-elected. It often feels like a super-Republican bastion around here, and in ways it is, but there’s plenty of progressive activity too; Dallas’ style tends to be more business-like, business-oriented than towns like, say, Austin, but that’s not all there is to it, by any means.

    Like numerous other areas, Dallas claims to be “the buckle of the Bible belt”; that belt must have a lot of buckles, but Dallas is definitely one of the biggest, with more churches than there are license plates (okay, probably not, but it sometimes appears that way). They range from mega- and double mega-churches, to tiny congregations in one room, with all sorts and sizes in between. There are many traditional churches that are strongly, publicly welcoming to lgbtq folk, many with good sized contingents of them. I’ve often attended one of Dallas’ Unitarian Universalist churches, which has, unsurprisingly, a thriving lgbtq population, but plenty of other denominations also make a point to bring in queer-folk (I even know of at least one Baptist church that is quite welcoming, though I think they may have separated from the Southern Baptist Conference, if they were ever affiliated with it). There are also several small to mid-size, specifically lgbtq congregations and at least one Jewish congregation started by lgbtq (http://www.bethelbinah.org/).

    Even with all that, Dallas is also home to the largest specifically lgbtq-oriented church in the world, the Cathedral of Hope (https://www2.cathedralofhope.com/), with a congregation of more than 4000, according to Wikipedia (I wouldn’t be surprised if that number is low). Dallas does love its churchiness. Oh–Cathedral of Hope, which started as a tiny MCC group, is now a member of the primarily liberal United Church of Christ denomination, and is very welcoming to non-lgbtq people. They have regular weekly services in Spanish, which I think bring in some people from the surrounding neighborhood, which has a large Latino population.

    Lots of “gayberhoods” around Dallas and its surroundings, the most established of which is centered on a stretch of Cedar Springs, in the Oak Lawn area, which is very lively, and hosts lots of events throughout the year. There’s also a long-established resource center for the community (www.rcdallas.org/‎), one of the very best gay men’s choruses in the nation (the Turtle Creek Chorale) as well as the Dallas Women’s Chorus, both of which are also welcoming to non-lgbtq people. Lots of great performing arts throughout Dallas-Fort Worth and environs, and one excellent example is Uptown Players, founded for the lgbtq community and friends, and doing wonderful work, for more than 12 years now (http://www.uptownplayers.org/#). There’s also the Gay and Lesbian Fund For Dallas (www.glfd.org/), which raises consciousness, donating to good non-lgbtq causes, only if that aid is publicly acknowledged with the fund’s name (sometimes in print, sometimes etched into the side of a building, or on a plaque). Dallas’ HRC Black Tie Dinner continues, year after year, to be the largest fundraiser of any for that organization, over all other cities, and there are plenty of other fundraising events for HRC, AmfAR, and other charities. Dallas’ annual pride parade is held in September, for various reasons, which keeps it from clashing with most other cities’ celebrations (and keeping it less likely we’ll all melt); look here about the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade: http://www.dallastavernguild.org/. I’ve got to go, but I’ve only scratched the surface. Check out the Dallas Voice, the free weekly for the glbtq community: http://www.dallasvoice.com/.

  • Sam

    Bad ass.

  • perljammer

    Heh. That’s a common misperception. At least, it’s a misperception when applied to California, where migrant farm workers are now making quite a bit more than minimum wage, and crackdowns on illegal immigration in recent years have resulted in a labor force that has a much lower percentage of undocumented workers than before. In California, the industry that would be most affected if “they all went home tomorrow” is construction.

  • reader

    Refreshing to see a sports journalist who isn’t blinded by his awe for athletes. Audre Lorde is spelled with an “e”. Add to this that the NFL is defending a team name that’s a racial slur. The NFL needs to join the modern world.

  • Avalon Morley

    Good for you, Dale! Some people and things coming out of Texas (and my home, Dallas) are actually NOT embarrassing–what a concept!

  • Bill_Perdue

    This is powerful stuff. It makes the hypocritical homohaters look like swine. And that’s exactly what they are. Lets hope Hansens well thought out presentation has an effect.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    If they all went home tomorrow, we’d see an immediate economic and social impact as food rotted in our fields. :)

  • pappyvet

    I just had to share this.
    I just saw a story on Yahoo about the Duggars and I must admit that every time I see that woman I feel I am looking at a brainwashing victim and I get furious.
    I could easily tie it in here but I am sick.

  • Jimmy

    I saw this live as it aired and I was taken aback. I shouldn’t be, but I was because you don’t often see sportscasters taking a stand like that; especially on a subject like gay men in football.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    People have mixed up priorities. For some reason, it brought to mind the words on Leonard Matlovich’s grave stone: “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”

  • 2karmanot

    Amazing and brave

  • perljammer

    You’re right about illegal aliens being generally unable to get many government benefits, although for some programs the legal resident requirement is waived in emergency circumstances. For example, in California, illegal residents are eligible for “Restricted Medi-Cal”, which covers emergency situations, health care for
    pregnant women, kidney dialysis, nursing home care and treatment for
    breast and cervical cancer. That sort of thing aside, most of the cost appears to be associated with education, medical care, and criminal justice.

    There are a lot of people of the opinion that illegal aliens are a huge drain on the US economy, but most studies say they are a very small net positive. If they all went home overnight, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference economically, although workers at the bottom of the skill and education scale would probably get a slight boost. At least, that’s what Alan Greenspan seems to think; your mileage may vary.

  • cole3244

    great statement by dale hansen.

    also if the nfl can take back a piece of garbage like michael vick thery certainly should be able to accept michael sam, or not.
    the nfl is popular but certainly not respectable and does not pay taxes.

  • AndyinChicago

    I have a friend who moved away from Dallas because he thought the atmosphere was slightly repressive, but I know little about it. Is it a LGBT friendly city? Will this anchor feel push-back?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Sometimes I find myself wondering what it would be like to be able to sit one of these racists or homophobes in a chair and just ask them, “When exactly did this ridiculous notion first enter your head? Did someone tell you “Illegal immigrants get benefits that whites can’t” or did you just make that up on your own because you’re trying desperately to make it seem like you’re the one being racially oppressed and not them? What benefits exactly? It can’t be Social Security or Medicaid, because both of those systems require you to be a citizen or legal resident. Same deal with food stamps. And welfare was essentially repealed in the 1990s. So what are these ‘benefits’ you so covet but are denied because your skin is too pale? Is it the right not to be allowed to have a bank account, because you can’t get one unless you can prove your identity and provide a Social Security number? Is it the right to pay more in taxes and fees than citizens and legal residents? Or perhaps you’re referring to their right to be separated from their families by INS, locked up for months or years, then deported, even if they were first brought to America as a toddler and know no other country?

    And while we’re at it, why is it when we’re talking about gay people, the first and only thing you think about is anal sex between two men? You mean to say you’re telling all of us your girlfriend or wife never, in the heat of passion, stuck her finger in that special place — or if she hasn’t, you constantly wish she would but you haven’t got the guts to ask her?”

  • Thom Allen

    This guy hit the nail on the head resoundingly and cleanly. I hope the NFL coaches and staff are sweating just a little.

  • Thom Allen

    Beautifully done. In the spirit of the Olympics: 9.5, 9.5, 10.0, 9.5, 10.0, 9.5.

  • basenjilover

    Oh yes, Michael Vick. This despicable “human” killed a few dogs when they didn’t perform to his depraved satisfaction. Yet NFL welcomed him back with open arms and cash including sub-human fans who supported him.

  • pappyvet

    Very brave and right on. I do wonder how much crap he is going to get for his comments.

  • annatopia

    hey this is my local sports guy. my bff sent this to me a few days ago. dale is awesome and known for saying what’s on his mind. glad to see this on americablog :)

  • silas1898

    Great piece! Coming from a Dallas sportswriter is even better.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    NFL contracts have the same morals clauses… though, they only really seem to exercise them when they see a player’s ability on the field as a lost cause.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    An extraordinary piece!

  • S1AMER

    It’s a great piece.

    It’s also great — effing great, actually — to see things like this from good people in the South. Lots of people in the Dallas-Fort Worth market watch this guy, and many of them will grow from the food for thought he provides.

    It’s getting harder and harder for the hate mongers to get anyone, anywhere, to listen to their vicious bile. Equality is winning, big time.

  • JaneE

    I am old enough to remember when black people weren’t “capable” of doing the things we see them doing every day. And just yesterday I had another conversation with a racist on how illegals get government benefits that citizens can’t and how black people just don’t want to get over it now that they aren’t discriminated against any more. Some people just lack any kind of empathy.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    The St. Louis Rams didn’t seem to mind drafting Leonard Little in 1998, who a few months later killed a mother of two while driving drunk.

    The Baltimore Ravens didn’t care that Ray Lewis was tried for murder, with the victim’s blood in his car, but got off because he agreed to turn on his co-conspirators – who later got acquitted because of lack of adequate evidence – so no one has been convicted of the crime, despite him being there first hand. He later settled civil suits from the victim’s families.

    Lawrence Taylor, Michael Irvin, Todd Marinovich, and Dog knows how many others had well documented and highly publicized drug and alcohol problems, including multiple arrests, for their entire tenures in the NFL. Their teams did next to nothing to help them.

    Sebastian Janikowski was tried for bribing a police officer, and for possession of the date rape drug, but acquitted, all around the same time as he was drafted to the NFL.

    Tank Johnson loves to play with unlicensed and illegally concealed firearms, which has lead to multiple arrests, and he’s still playing.

    Don’t even get me started on Michael Vick.

    Those are just a few I can think of off hand, and I don’t even like football. As far as I can tell, drug abuse, drunk driving, domestic abuse, and partaking of prostitutes are the norm, not the exception; hundreds of players in just the last decade have been arrested for those things. To the point where you’ begin to think they’re almost a requirement for playing in the NFL.

    Simply put, the NFL never really seems to give a shit about player’s questionable activities off the field. Right up until it affects their ability to play the game. Then they get really upset. I’m really confused why they can’t seem to treat player’s sexuality with the same blind eye they treat everything else?

  • Perilous

    I would throw a party to see the NFL shut down.

  • Silver_Witch

    Mr. Hansen did a great job….I am glad you posted it here….some people are finally putting on their big boys briefs and standing up for what is right.

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