Ah, Twitter is just a gold mine of uncensored thought. Of course those who “open their mouths” on the social network seem to be oblivious to the fact that a lot of people, not just those in their inner circle, can read your Tweets unless you restrict your account.

Take the ramblings of freshman N.C. State University basketball player CJ Leslie, who hails from Holly Springs and is a graduate of Word of God HS. (Hat tip NCSU student Evan Garris ):

I’m not saying I hate gays, but that’s sumthing that I would not wnt n my locker room.”

I’m no anti gay But I would rather not have a gay n the locker room.”

and, hilariously:

John amaechi is to big to be gay. #imjussayin

Click to enlarge.

Sadly, his peeps were unready to accept the foul.

Um. The context is clear. This young man probably represents the common views of masculinity and sexuality in HS basketball – and that means a lot to learn and fear to address.

Even though he may already be playing alongside, undressing, and showering around a gay man already, CJ wants an atmosphere of don’t ask, don’t tell to address his own discomfort. (CJ, if a gay teammate wanted to take a pass at you, it surely would have been done already. Chill out.) If you’re pro-equality, it shouldn’t matter what the sexual orientation of your teammate is — in or outside of the locker room. It’s anti-gay to want someone — a potential teammate — to hide something about themselves that you never have to.

Presumed heterosexuality — and the privilege that comes with it, is worthy of open discussion so we all can move past statements like those “innocently” tweeted. CJ – racist or anti-Semitic comments are not considered in contemporary society to be acceptable; why should homophobic statements?

Ironically, John Amaechi wrote about the climate in pro basketball in “Man in the Middle;” and in fact the NBA and GLAAD recently addressed the issue of Kobe Bryant’s gay slur during a game. John wrote a compelling op-ed in the NYT as well.

CJ doesn’t have the role-model responsibilities upon his shoulders as an NBA player has, and this serves more as a cautionary tale rather than the need for a battering ram. While GLAAD can’t address every issue like this, it shows that the real work related to tolerance and acceptance of gays in team sports really has to start earlier – when the slurs and fears start to appear.

NOTE: And in case any NC basketball fans think this is some kind of slam against NCSU — I’m not even a basketball fan. Triangle rivalries don’t mean anything to me. For all we know, players on other teams may have the very same locker room issues that need to be addressed through outreach.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding