Saturday, September 11, 2010

Univision poll: Is soccer compatible with homosexuality?

[UPDATE as of 9/13/10: Univision has taken the poll off their site.  Thanks to Queerty and After Elton for picking up on this post]

I've often written about homophobia in sports and, particularly, in soccer. Sometimes it seems not a single week can go by without some sort of incident and last week was no different.

The gist of it: A representative for one of Germany's leading players opened up his mouth and blamed the German team's loss at this year's World Cup on a secret cadre of gay players ("German Soccer Manager Blames Gay Players")

The interview with Michael Becker, a manager for Germany's Michael Ballack, was originally posted on Der Spiegel on July 13th, but didn't run like wildfire through the Latin American sports pages until last week (see Argentina's Clarin, Spain's El Correo, Honduras' Diez, etc.).

Which brings us to Univision.

Yesterday, on the site, they posted a pretty great opinion piece by Robert Elzmendi in which he responds to the furor raised by Becker's comments in Der Spiegel.

In "Is soccer compatible with homosexuality?", Elzmendi argues that it's time for the sport of soccer to embrace a campaign against homophobia as it embraced a campaign against racism during the World Cup. If you remember, signs were held that said "Say no to racism" before every game and payers took turns decrying the practice.

Unfortunately, the piece is marred by an editorial decision to also run a homophobic poll next to the article.

The question: "Is soccer compatible with sexuality?". The options: 1. "Yes, sexuality is private and independent", 2. "Yes, but you don't have to make it public" and 3. "No, soccer is a sport for macho men".

Sigh. I know online polls are silly marketing ploys to draw readers and page hits but, where to start?  There seems to be no difference between the first and second options: Basically, it's OK to be a gay soccer player as long as you remain in the closet and don't talk about it.  As for the third option, what exactly is a macho guy? Is Univision saying there are no masculine gay men? Or that it's OK to kick out someone as metrosexual as David Beckham from a team? What about all the female soccer leagues? Are only macho-like girls allowed.

Silly poll. Univision should know better than to post it.

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