Dallas News Anchor Schools Bigots on LGBT’s Place in Sports
A video of a sports anchor for Dallas’s ABC affiliate station WFAA has gone viral this week. In the clip, the anchor gives a surprising, yet extremely touching speech about LGBT acceptance in sports, specifically in the National Football League.
Anchor Dale Hansen’s speech came Monday night, just a day after NFL draft prospect Michael Sam told the media he is gay, which puts him on the track of becoming the NFL’s first openly gay player. In his segment, called "Hansen Unplugged: Celebrating Our Differences," Hansen strays away from the typical script for about two-minutes to talk about an article that was published in Sports Illustrated this week, where eight anonymous NFL officials told the publication that Sam’s groundbreaking announcement would negatively impact his chances of being drafted.
The officials also said that an openly gay player would bring problems to the locker room.
"It would be uncomfortable because that’s a man’s world," Hansen said before calling out football players’ destructive behavior.
"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," he said. "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, but now you’ve gone too far," Hansen said.
The sports castor then brings up black rights, pointing out the NFL’s discrimination against black athletes.
"I’m not always comfortable when a man tells me he’s gay; I don’t understand his world," Hansen later adds. "But I do understand that he’s part of mine."
He then quotes civil rights activist Audre Lorde: "It is not our differences that divide us, it is our inability or recognize, accept and celebrate those differences."
"I want to believe there will be a day when we celebrate [an openly gay player]," Hansen said. "I don’t know if that day is here yet, I guess we’re about to find out. But when I listen to Michael Sam, I do think it’s time we celebrate him."
According to the Huffington Post, the clip went viral on social media. Since gaining attention, Hansen has responded to his speech’s success.
"Some people don’t seem to believe this -- I honestly didn’t think it was going to be that big a deal," Hansen told HuffPo. He added he’s received more than 700 "overwhelmingly positive" emails from around the country and even a letter from a Canadian high school boy.
When HuffPo asked the sports anchor his thought process on taking "such a firm stance and then broadcasting it," Hansen said:
"I write only what I believe -- and I simply believe what I wrote. Seems like common sense to me -- nothing more or less."
Jon Stewart made similar remarks on a recent episode of "The Daily Show." He mentioned the same Sports Illustrated article Hansen brings up and, like the sports anchor, called out some the destructive headline-grabbing incidents football player have been involved in, in recent years, Policy Mic reports.
"No pro team wants the type of ’controversy’ having a gay player is going to cause," Stewart said. :If he had just been convicted of DUI vehicular manslaughter, or obstruction of justice in connection with a murder, or have been accused of sexual assault, or screamed the N-word at a concert, or killed a bunch of dogs and buried them in his fucking yard - you know, ’NFL material.’"
You can watch "The Daily Show" clip over at Policy Mic and check out Hansen’s speech below: