Alan Gordon is not a Dickhead

Alan Gordon Will JohnsonAlan Gordon is not a dickhead.

Marc Burch is not a dickhead.

Robbie Rogers is on the August cover of Out Magazine for an issue focused on sports. It’s quite a good interview done by who is probably the best writer at Here Media, who publishes both Out and The Advocate. It covers his playing, his coming out, and his personal life with a balance you don’t often see from gay media outlets. I haven’t yet mentioned the Out Magazine interview on this site, and this will be the only time I mention it.

I’m not going to mention Out Magazine and their otherwise good interview with Robbie Rogers because the magazine has also published an online slideshow called the “21 Biggest Dickheads in Sports: 2013 Edition.” Seattle’s Marc Burch and San Jose’s Alan Gordon both appear on the list along with athletes from basketball, ultimate fighting, hockey, gridiron football, and baseball.

Alan Gordon is not a dickhead.

Marc Burch is not a dickhead.

These two sentences cannot be repeated enough, and any publication who uses inflammatory words like “dickheads” and assigns it to people who aren’t deserving of it in order to generate newsstand sales or website clicks should be ashamed. Sure, both of these guys did something that was pretty dreadful, but to call them “dickheads” now completely ignores who they are and everything they have done since the incidents in question. With who they are and all they’ve said and done, these two players have more than proven themselves to me.

(Say it with me.)

Alan Gordon is not a dickhead.

Marc Burch is not a dickhead.

On his own, Marc Burch reached out to the local LGBT community in Seattle and met up with a local gay team to play a bit of soccer. He didn’t tweet about it. The Sounders camera crew didn’t come along to capture footage. He did it simply because it was a nice thing to do after what happened. And we would have never even heard about it if one of the players didn’t blog about it to share what a nice gesture and good experience it was for everyone involved. But hey, why do some work to find this kind of thing out when you can just call someone a “dickhead?”

Marc Burch is not a dickhead.

You Can Play Project founder Patrick Burke will be the first person to tell you that Alan Gordon is not a dickhead: “Alan is a great guy who screwed up. He knows it. He’s acknowledged so both publicly and privately. And he’s worked hard to make it right. When we presented to the Quakes, Alan came up to both myself and [out lacrosse player] Andrew Goldstein to apologize and talk about the incident. He then went further to ask what more he could do to help. The Quakes took the YCP pledge, filmed it, and publicized the video. That was done largely at Alan’s urging, and I know he was recruiting players to appear along with him.” But hey, why get information like this about someone when you can just call them names in a national forum?

Alan Gordon is not a dickhead.

Marc Burch did something wrong. Alan Gordon did something wrong. They would be the first ones to admit so, they both accepted league punishment, and both took private steps to make up for what they did. But yet Out Magazine includes them on a list of “dickheads” along with many others without appreciating or even bothering to mention anything else about them beyond one mistake. Painting these athletes with such a broad stroke of the brush is as shameful as painting all LGBT persons with the various stereotypes that get assigned to us.

And beyond just being shameful, it’s a hindrance to the work that so many like the You Can Play Project, Athlete Ally, and many others do to progress the LGBT cause in the sports arena. Someone can do everything in the world with one of these organizations to apologize, and learn and grow from a mistake, but why would they want to do that if a major gay publication is just going to go ahead and call them a “dickhead” anyway? It’s called forgiveness and personal growth, Out Magazine, and you should look into those ideas.

So I won’t be buying an August issue of Out Magazine, and I won’t be promoting their cover interview with Robbie Rogers on this site. They’ve ruined that fine work by taking a needless swipe at members of our American soccer family. Maybe the authors of that list should have stopped and thought about what they were doing and who they were smearing before publishing it. Stop and think before you call someone a dickhead.

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