In Light of Jackson Slurs, Phillies Encouraged to Make ‘It Gets Better’ Video
By now you’ve probably heard about Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson using gay slurs during a Sirius XM radio interview. If not, this is what happened: During a call-in session on the “All Out Show” on June 30, one caller asked Jackson whether he’s ever “got his dick knocked in the dirt.” Jackson responded: “What kind of question is that…Say ‘no homo,’ gay-ass. Faggot.”
Later, apparently in the heat of the moment, Jackson took to his Twitter, saying:
WANNA BRING ME DOWN BUT IM OK!! THEY TRYIN KNOCC ME OFF BUT IM STILL ON!!”
THEY LOOKN 2 TAKE YA DOWN AT ALL TIMES NO MATTER HOW POSITIVE AND WHAT U DO!! ITS ALWAYS A WAY THEY TRY TO GET YA…. IM STANDIN TALL.
Pressure mounted on Jackson to apologize for the radio banter, though “Rude” Jude, the satellite radio host present during Jackson’s comments, urged him not to, saying the comments were a joke. On July 9, the above Tweets were deleted and Jackson (or, judging by the comparative grammar and spelling, someone else) wrote, “I am sorry for using words that I know to be hurtful and unacceptable in a recent radio interview. I have made a mistake and would like to make it clear that words I used meant no disrespect to the Gay and Lesbian community. Intolerance is unacceptable and I apologize to anyone I have offended.” What made Jackson’s entire episode particularly disheartening – and is noted by Salon – is how earlier this year, the Eagles’ Pro Bowler made his way onto “The View” to back up and hand his jersey to a boy who’d been severely bullied in Upper Darby.
Meanwhile, Washington D.C.-based Phillies fan Jerome Hunt has started a petition on Change.org urging the Phillies to make an “It Gets Better” video. Here’s a portion of his petition overview:
As a lifelong Phillies fan and partial season ticket holder who faithfully makes the trek from Washington, DC to Philadelphia numerous times throughout the season, it would be great to see this wonderful organization that I love tackle an issue that is near and dear to my heart. As a gay man who was called “gay” and “faggot” in both grade school and high school, when I didn’t even really know I was gay at the time, I understand firsthand the effects that bullying can have on a young person who is trying to find their place in the world. Thankfully, I had a supportive family, friends, and teachers who made it comfortable for me to discover who I was free of judgment. However, not everyone is so lucky to be in a supportive environment.
The Phillies making an It Gets Better video could be that beacon of hope for an LGBT youth who is struggling with bullying and harassment for just being who they are. Straight allies play a tremendous role in providing a safe space for LGBT youth to be who they are free of judgment, harassment, and bullying. Hearing the words that it is okay to be who you are and It Gets Better from a sports star you look up can and does make a difference.
Now, Change.org is circulating the petition, sending out a mass email that uses the Phillies’ cross-complex neighbor as fodder (though Hunt did not mention Jackson):
Last Friday, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson used several anti-gay slurs on a radio talk show. Jackson has since apologized, but his remarks are just the latest in a string of anti-gay comments and incidents that pervade the world of professional sports.
Here’s the good news: many sports teams are fighting back against this culture of homophobia. So far, the Giants, Cubs and Red Sox have all made “It Gets Better” videos to speak out against anti-gay bullying – all three baseball teams agreed to do so after being petitioned by their fans on Change.org.
With your help, the Philadelphia Phillies will be next. Jerome Hunt, a big Phillies fan, started a petition on Change.org asking the Phillies to make an “It Gets Better” video. Will you sign it?
Those interested can sign the petition here.