A's should reach out to LGBTs

  • Wednesday August 9, 2017
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The Oakland A's haven't been making headlines much this year, enduring yet another woeful season. That all changed over the weekend, but for the wrong reasons. Outfielder Matt Joyce unloaded an anti-gay slur ("faggot") at a fan at Friday night's game in Anaheim, where the A's were playing the Angels. Major League Baseball promptly suspended him without pay for two games. According to media reports, Joyce's salary for those games, about $54,000, will be donated to PFLAG. And Joyce himself was contrite, telling reporters the next day, "I'm deeply ashamed and embarrassed for my actions. The word I did use is very uncharacteristic of me. ... There is no excuse for that kind of language ever to be used." At least he apologized.

So many athletes have shouted "faggot" or some other epithet at an opposing player or fan or referee – and yet, it continues to happen in men's pro sports. Most of these players offer apologies just like Joyce did, and yet it continues to happen.

Fans can be tough, especially when both teams are playing so poorly, as the A's and Angels are. Professional athletes, however, should know better, and not let the heat of the moment get to them, as Joyce did. In a series of tweets, he said that the fan in question had heckled him about his family. That would be upsetting to anyone, but pro athletes should never respond to catcalls or insults. Joyce played for the Angels in 2015 and was known to southern California fans, who targeted him for verbal abuse before. Coaches and managers should continue to talk with their players about how best to handle the pressure-filled season, without resorting to name-calling.

As the A's embark on building a new stadium in Oakland, they're going to need support, including from their LGBT fans. They are a mid-market team playing in the shadow of the Giants across the bay (though this year the G-Men have the worst record in the majors). New team President Dave Kaval has expressed his desire to have the team be more involved with the greater community; its tagline this year is "Rooted in Oakland." But incidents like Joyce's are two steps back as the A's try to move forward.

The upcoming Oakland Pride parade and festival would be an ideal opportunity for the A's to reach out to the LGBT community. The team should consider being a sponsor of the festivities, and could go the extra mile by paying for pink lights around Lake Merritt, as was done many years ago during a Pride event. The lake just happens to be near the organization's favored site for the new stadium – adding a little pizazz for Pride weekend would send a message of inclusivity that Joyce's words undermined.


Trump supporters slowly see the light

President Donald Trump remains very popular among the people who voted for him, but signs of strain are beginning to emerge. This week, BuzzFeed reported that Peter Thiel, a gay billionaire with a libertarian bent, is hedging his bet on Trump.

"Donald Trump's most prominent Silicon Valley supporter has distanced himself from the president in multiple private conversations, describing at different points this year an 'incompetent' administration, and one that may well end in 'disaster,'" the site reported Monday. "Thiel's unguarded remarks have surprised associates, some of whom are still reeling from his full-throated endorsement of Trump at the Republican National Convention. And while the investor stands by the president in public – 'I support President Trump in his ongoing fight,' he said in a statement to BuzzFeed News – his private doubts underscore the fragility of the president's backing even from his most public allies."

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake is one of the few Republicans willing to publicly take on Trump. In a new book, he wrote that Republicans are in "denial" about the chaos engulfing the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, a new CNN poll shows that just over one-third of the country approves of the job Trump is doing, with a staggering 56 percent opposed. Trump's approval rating, at 38 percent, is down 6 points from the April survey.

Now that he's been in office for just over 200 days, it's dawning on more people what a disaster he and his administration are for the country. We know the news bothers Trump immensely because he's unleashed a barrage of tweets critical of the "fake media" in an effort to rile up his core supporters. And as the Washington Post put it, the poll shows that Trump's "safe space" is shrinking. "The president has increased his media-bashing via Twitter and staged rallies hoping to marshal his base to his defense," the Associated Press reported Tuesday. "There are signs that his support among Republicans may be softening."

That support can't crumble fast enough.