Jock Talk: Waddell street renaming scheduled

  • by Roger Brigham
  • Wednesday November 12, 2014
Share this Post:

A tentative date has been set for the renaming of Lech Walesa Street in the Civic Center area to Dr. Tom Waddell Place to honor the founder of the Gay Games.

The new street sign is tentatively scheduled to be unveiled at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, November 20.

The name change was approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in July. Waddell, a gay man and a 1968 Olympian in the decathlon, is credited with creating the vision for the Gay Games, a quadrennial sports and cultural festival founded in San Francisco in 1982 that through the decades has engendered a massive stimulation in the growth of LGBT recreational sports groups. Waddell originally named the event the Gay Olympic Games, but just days before their launch he was enjoined from using the word "Olympics" by the U.S. Olympic Committee �" a landmark decision that dragged on for years and was ultimately settled by the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of the USOC. Before his death in 1987 of complications from AIDS, Waddell worked in San Francisco's public health clinic. The Tom Waddell Urban Health Clinic, on Golden Gate Avenue, is named in his honor.


49ers defensive end Ray McDonald

No domestic abuse charges against 49ers' McDonald

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's office announced November 10 that it will not file domestic abuse charges against 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald, saying it lacked sufficient evidence and cooperation to prosecute the player in connection with an incident at his home August 31 that allegedly left his fiancee bruised.

Despite some public outcry and growing pressure on the NFL to fight domestic abuse within its ranks, McDonald remained on the active roster throughout the legal investigation and the Niners said this week his status would not change.

"The issue of domestic violence is important to us, as it is throughout society," the team said in a statement. "We have taken this allegation seriously, just as we have taken the principles of due process seriously. We have said from the beginning that we will consider the information available, allow the facts to lead to our decisions and respect the judicial process. Based on the information available to us and the district attorney's decision not to file charges, there will be no change in Ray's status with the team."

The police involvement began on August 31, when McDonald was celebrating his 30th birthday with teammates, with two 911 calls from his house. The first was from McDonald, who said he needed to get a woman out of his house. Two minutes later a call came in from a woman identifying herself as McDonald's fiancee. The district attorney's office said this week that in the call, the woman said, "Hello. I'd like to press for a domestic violence. My fiance ... he's trying to pull me out of the house ... he's drunk ... I think he's calling the cops, he, he's trying to get me out."

The district attorney's memo said the woman declined to cooperate with investigators after her initial call and that the investigation revealed that she struck McDonald first.



Sports think tank explores religion and sexual orientation

A group of LGBT, religious, college and sports leaders met this month in Indianapolis to explore the best practices to enable college athletes and coaches to be engaged in the sports of their choice regardless of religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and gender expression or identity.

Called "Seeking Common Ground: Creating a Respectful Athletic Climate for Athletes and Coaches of All Religious Perspectives, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity or Expression," the effort is funded by a grant from the LGBT Sports Coalition and included the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Br{ache The Silence. The group is expected to work over the course of the next year to formulate best practice guidelines for faith-based schools, public schools and private secular schools in 2015.

"I am excited to be a part of this important discussion," said longtime activist and author Pat Griffin, a member of the coalition. "Creating common ground in athletics for athletes and coaches of all religious perspectives, sexual orientations, and gender identities is all about respect and I think that is something we all understand regardless of our differences."


Deion steps in it

As Michael Sam, the former Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year who came out just before last year's NFL draft and was later cut from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad, continues to hope for some team to give him a chance, his historic league-wide snub continues to generate discussion. It was the subject in passing on a segment of the online Larry King Show November 6, in which the host asked former Dallas star Deion Sanders about reaching out to Sam to offer support.

The segment was innocuous enough until Sanders, asked if he thought being gay might be a "choice," said yes.


The gaffe swiftly made the rounds on the Internet and the following day Sanders backed off from his comment in a series of Twitter exchanges with Outsports founder Cyd Zeigler.

"Please accept my apology," Sanders wrote. "I have friends whom felt both ways. Some felt they made a choice and others didn't."

For the record, Oh Speedy One, being honest and candid, as Sam was when he came out, is a choice. Being gay isn't. And although you say you neither condemn nor condone homosexuality, I would hope you would condone honesty and condemn the fear that holds it back.


ESPN bans racist, sexist comic

Comedian Artie Lange, a former cast member of the off-color "Howard Stern Show," has been banned from appearances on ESPN after posting a series of racist and sexist comments on Twitter aimed at studio host Cari Champion.

Champion, an African American woman, moderates the show First Take, which features Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless. On Tuesday, November 4, Lange posted several comments on Twitter talking about jacking off to Champion.

"She's so fuckin' hot," Lange wrote. "Trying to maintain erection and jerkoff to chick on First Take but they keep cutting back to Stephen A. Smith and the white guy. Frustrating!"

ESPN condemned Lange's comments the following day.

"His comments were reprehensible and no one should be subjected to such hateful language," ESPN said in a written statement. "They objectify and demean one of our valued employees under the thin guise of 'comedy' and are offensive to all of us. We will not dignify them with any other comment."


Swimming sex abuse to get publicity

Several prominent athletes, led by activists such as Olympian Nancy Hogshead-Makar, have loudly criticized USA Swimming for providing poor institutional protection against alleged sexual abuse by coaches for years. It may be harder for USAS to ignore the issue next month, when the magazine Outside is scheduled to publish a lengthy article on the long history of sexual abuse and institutional cover-ups in swimming.

In anticipation of the article, Jim Sheehan, president of USA Swimming, wrote member clubs an internal memo warning them about the article and complaining that Outside is biased against the swimming federation.

Outside has a reported readership of 700,000.