NFL Is (Somewhat) Less Homophobic Than You Think


Remember that scene in Brokeback Mountain, when Jack Twist is having Thanksgiving dinner with his wife's family and they get in a big fight about being manly enough to watch football? (What? You haven't seen Brokeback? Well, it's like the Colts' season, except shorter and with 13 percent fewer audibles.) When we watched that scene, we actually, swear to God, thought, "Why are they watching a CFL game on Thanksgiving?" This is what we do sometimes.

Well, it turns out, there's a story behind that; the producers of the film asked the NFL for game footage, and the league turned them down. One of the producers claimed that the refusal was because of the movie's theme (you see, some dudes do each other in it), but the NFL says it's not true.

"Our decision to decline licensing NFL footage for this project has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it is 'a positive and moving gay-themed love story,'" [a league spokesperson said]. "It is based primarily on the manner in which you seek to use NFL footage — a manner that is detrimental to the very image with which the NFL chooses to associate."

The issue at hand: The notion that not watching football makes one "girly," an odd hair for the NFL to split, we think. Of course, it's also strange to hear a league spokesperson say, "We believe that the view that a boy who does not watch football will somehow grow up to be less than a man is narrow-minded and derogatory; we presume it is in the script for that very reason. We choose not to license our footage to be used as a vehicle to illustrate such a point." The whole thing has our head kind of spinning, actually; the NFL is basically saying, "If your son doesn't consume our product, he's not a sissy. So stop calling him that."

The NFL, at least at an executive level, is traditionally one of the less homophobic leagues, due in part (presumably) to the fact that Paul Tagliabue's son is gay. And this seems to be along the same lines. So remember: The NFL Says: Your Kid Is Not A Wuss.

Why NFL Said No to Brokeback [Out Sports]
Paul Tagliabue: Friend To The Gays [Deadspin]