Ernie Banks representing Cubs at Gay Pride parade speaks volumes
I am a Chicago Cubs fan.
Not permanently. But for the foreseeable future I will root for the Cubs in the same passionate way I root for BP picketers and a capable Blind Melon tribute band. I want the Cubs to win it all; to dominate the competition; to sell 10 million T-shirts and all the
In case you haven't heard, this Sunday the Cubbies will take part in Chicago's Gay Pride Parade. But not merely "take part." For the first time, the team will have its own float -- a vehicle decked out in a brick-and-ivy motif, a la Wrigley Field's outfield wall. In and of itself, the gesture would be a wonderful one; a statement to the Windy City's large gay and lesbian community that they are welcome at 1060 West Addison Street whenever they crave a ballgame.
Here, however, is the capper: Sitting atop the float, waving to the crowd in all its gay-and-lesbian splendor, will be
You have read that correctly. Ernie Banks, aka Mr. Cub, will represent the Chicago Cubs at the Gay Pride Parade.
The team could have enlisted any former player without a peep of complaint from the community. Here's
Is it the wisest marketing move in a socially conservative part of the country? No, probably not. But sometimes the right thing trumps the savvy thing.
Thankfully, the Cubs are not alone. Appearing alongside Banks will be
Specifically, Sopel agreed to take part on behalf of
This is what we should call guts; what we should call heart; what we should call courage and pride. Most professional athletes seem to take great comfort in following the crowd and never stepping out of line to make a statement. They hide behind their
The same, for that matter, goes for organizations. It's easy for franchises to donate $1 million to the local cancer hospital, because a.) It's a noble cause without controversy; b.) The publicity alone covers the lost funds. Could anyone, however, imagine the New York Yankees sending
Answer: Of course not. They never have, they likely never will. Too risky. Too, ahem, political. Not all that long ago,
In a small regard, James is right. It is about trust. Which is why gay athletes hiding in the closet need to know that, should they summon up the courage to come out, their teammates and coaches will be trustworthy enough to have their backs and respect their sexuality.
Throughout the country, this remains a big question mark.
In Chicago, the questions have, at long last, been answered.