When the Kansas City Royals unveiled a not-so-provocative calendar featuring candid photos of their 2008 squad, it provided ample opportunity for sports bloggers to point and laugh with the usual amount of unbridled enthusiasm. The calendar, whose proceeds go toward a female self-defense program in honor of a 19-year-old Kansas City lifeguard who was violently murdered (yeesh...), features "casual" photos of Royals photographed in what appears to be somebody's unfinished basement. Most upset by the blandness of the Royals' calendar was gay-sports site, Outsports, which accused John Buck, Alex Gordon and company of fearing the gays:
This perfectly illustrates how most American jocks are loath to show any skin in their promotional ventures (Terrell Owens being one exception). I think it is mostly the fear of appearing too homoerotic and having to defend their sexuality. There are no Americans like English rugby star Ben Cohen, straight jocks who appeal to their gay fans (or female fans who like to see the result of all that hard training). Instead, we get the Royals, dressing their athletes in clothes right out of a JC Penney "Big and Tall" catalog from 1990, with lousy lighting and bad camera angles. If New York City firefighters can strip without fear of losing their masculinity, what stops athletes?
So here's a memo to professional athletes: If you want to impress your gay fanbase, don't pose in a sports calendar wearing clothes, you insensitive homophobic jerks.
The lame K.C. Royals calendar [Outsports]