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Jobu weighs in on Torii Hunter‘s big fat mouth.

It wouldn’t be America if an overpaid athlete didn’t run his mouth about something important and reveal him or herself to be a complete moron. This week’s foot-in-mouther is Torii Hunter! Come on down! I know this issue has been written about time and time again, but it has not been written about by me, so I felt like weighing in on it. For those of you who don’t know, Hunter was asked about the possibility of having a gay teammate last week, and he basically said “Ew,” and revealed his true ignorance… and here we thought he was one of the nice guys in baseball.

Ok so here’s how it went down. Recently, professional boxer named Orlando Cruz openly admitted that he is gay. Plenty of other athletes have come out after their careers ended (John Amaechi, Esera Tuaolo and Billy Bean), but for a current professional athlete to admit to being homosexual is a very big deal. Frankly, I commend him. In any sports, it doesn’t matter who you go home with after the game, it’s whether you win or lose. If the Yankees entire team admitted they were gay tomorrow, and they went on to win the World Series in 2013, I’d be ecstatic.

Kevin Baxter, a well respected writer for the Los Angeles Times, allegedly got this response from Hunter when he asked what it would be like to have a gay teammate.

“For me, as a Christian… I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it’s not right. It will be difficult and uncomfortable.” –

Orlando Cruz would kick Torii  Hunter's ass, right?(Alan.com)
Orlando Cruz would kick Torii Hunter’s ass, right? (Alan.com)

Let me first say that, although I don’t share this view with Mr. Hunter, I respect his opinion and his right to have and express it. I think it makes him ignorant, but that’s on him. This was a tough question for Hunter to answer in the first place. If he had said he’d be fine with a gay, even if he said it casually, he’d be unwittingly taking a big stand. Some guys son’t want that kind of attention, so I wouldn’t have blamed Torii if he had said nothing. By reacting negatively to the question, however, Hunter immediately became a bad guy. The point is that Baxter was looking for a story either way (which is his job), and he got one. Kudos to him for asking the question that really represents the last frontier of sports and gay rights (if it’s OK for homosexuals to get married, I think it’s OK for them to help a sports team win games, no?)

If this story had ended there, I wouldn’t have written this post because, to me, that’s a non-story. An athlete afraid of gay people? Gasp! Never in a thousand years did I think that would happen! No, his opinion isn’t the problem for me. Nor is it really a problem for me that he probably just alienated one or more of his own teammates (statistics don’t lie). For me, the problem was his reaction to his alleged quote becoming public. Hunter immediately denied the report and accused Baxter of putting two of his other quotes together and misrepresenting him. This is probably the worst thing you can ever say about a reporter. For a reporter to fabricate a quote or story is among the more despicable things in the industry. You can be hard hitting. You can be a dumpster-diving sneak, but don’t make shit up. That’s not good for the entire industry, let alone Baxter’s career. Accusing him of that threatens his entire livelihood. If Hunter is lying to cover his track, that’s pretty despicable in it’s own right.

Anyway, here’s how Torii defended himself, through a tweet, of course…

“I’m very disappointed in Kevin Baxter’s article in which my quotes and feelings have been misrepresented. He took two completely separate quotes and made them into one quote that does not express how i feel as a Christian or a human being. I have love and respect for all human beings regardless of race, color or sexual orientation. I am not perfect and try hard to live the best life I can and treat all people with respect. If you know me, you know that I am not anti anything and to be portrayed as anti-gay in this article is hurtful and just not true.”

Hunter should familiarize himself with the NoH8 Campaign. (Adam Bouska)
Hunter should familiarize himself with the NoH8 Campaign. (Adam Bouska)

Blah blah blah. Aside from Hunter’s use of every unchallengeable apology cliché in the book (I don’t know him, so I can’t know that he’s not anti-anything… he must be anti-nothing!), my biggest problem is with what Hunter doesn’t say in his diatribe. He says he loves all people and respects all creeds and kinds, but he doesn’t actually say that he’d welcome a gay teammate… does he? Hunter doesn’t say that all he cares about is winning games and championships and, if Liberace could swing a bat, he’d be welcome in the Detroit Tigers’ lineup any day.

After all, that was the question, wasn’t it? It wasn’t if Torii thinks that gay people are cool, or how many gay friends Torii has, or how many creeds, colors and orientations Torii respects and loves. The question seems pretty direct to me. He practically said “Some of my best friends are gay!” It’s like when comedian D.L. Hughley talks about white people who know exactly how many black friends they have. He says that if you know how many black friends you have, you’re probably a racist. Torii loves gay people, he just doesn’t want them in his house (allegedly, of course).

Finally, how does that one quote come from two quotes? What are the two quotes? He says he’s a Christian, and because of that gays in the locker room wouldn’t fly with him because he thinks it’s wrong. The first part, saying that Torii is a Christian, is well known about him. He’s probably said it a million times. Was the second part of the quote from when Baxter asked him if he wanted to go set Bibles on fire? I’m not even religious and I’d have a difficult and uncomfortable time doing that. If so, for shame, Kevin Baxter…

It just bothers me when athletes try to give uneducated and ignorant opinions on real life issues that they have no business speaking about, immediately put their foot in their mouth and come back with a stupid, generic and ridiculous apology. The fact of the matter though, is that Hunter’s comments actually matter. He had a chance to make a statement about homosexuals in this country, and he just spouted ignorance (allegedly). Then, once he realized the backlash that was coming his way, he was suddenly misquoted.

It’s not like it’s the first time he’s ever said something that was completely inappropriate and stupid. In 2010, he made forehead slapping headlines when he said that Dominican players were not black, but rather “Latino Impostors.” That was followed with a lame, clichéd and unsatisfying apology too about how we are all brothers and he just meant that they come from a different culture. Blah, blah, blah, Torii. Just shut up next time… and I hope no one ever asks him about gun control…

Martin Stezano

About Martin Stezano

Uruguayan born and American raised with a unique perspective on the domestic and international sports scenes. It will both tickle your funny bone and enlighten your mind. Love it or hate it...just read it.

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