“Sheryl” or “Blinded”

Sheryl Swoopes has come out of the closet. And for some reason, she felt the need to throw the whole "I’m a Christian" line in there. ESPN has the scoop on Swoop.

I’m content with who I am and who I’m with. Whether people think that’s
right, whether they think it’s wrong, I don’t care. We shouldn’t and
can’t judge each other. I am a Christian, and my biggest dilemma is
when people start throwing in the whole religion thing: you’re going to
hell for this or that. I think that’s the hardest thing for my mom to
deal with, too. She’s into the Bible and church, and I’m concerned
about how she’s going to deal with her church friends. What are they
going to say? What are they going to do?

And then she goes on to make some pretty stupid non-spiritual statements, like these:

My biggest concern is that people are going to look at my homosexuality
and say to little girls — whether they’re white, black, Hispanic —
that I can’t be their role model anymore.

I don’t want that to happen. Being gay has nothing to do with the three
gold medals or the three MVPs or the four championships I’ve won. I’m
still the same person. I’m still Sheryl.

I think they should market to the gay community more. I understand why
they don’t. They don’t know if everybody is going to accept it. But my
thing is, money is money. As long as people are coming to the games and
paying for tickets and filling seats, then I don’t really care what
color they are or what community they’re from.

Ok. First off, she sounds like Barry Bonds or other pro athletes that wants to be idolized for their on-the-court performance and not held accountable for off-the-court actions. It’s a game, right? So why should it matter what happens away from the game?

She claims "I’m still the same person. I’m still Sheryl." But her actions say otherwise. Her actions say: "My professional life, personal life and spiritual life do not intersect or overlap." Her faith doesn’t impact her lifestyle and her lifestyle doesn’t impact her performance. So, she’s essentially three people.

The other statement is just plain dangerous. "…money is money. As long as people are coming to the games and paying for tickets…" From a business standpoint, she’s right. Why not go to whatever means necessary to sell a product? But from a supposed-Christian standpoint, she’s again separating things that ought not be separated: faith and business. By using alternative-lifestyle as a means of promoting the league, the WNBA would be supporting that lifestyle. She’s blinded to the transcending-nature of morals.

And if the WNBA started using gay players to market to the gay audience as Sheryl suggests here:

If the league came to me and said, "Sheryl, we want to use you and
market you more toward the gay community," I would be all for that.

Wouldn’t that only compound the problem she complains about here?:

There are so many other issues to discuss besides rumors about the WNBA
being full of lesbians. And I think that’s why we don’t get the type of
fan support we deserve.

You’re right, Sheryl, there are plenty of other things to talk about besides rumors. There are things like professional athletes living by morals and values and being role models and good stewards of the spotlight you live in. There are things like being true to the title you profess.

I’m not perfect, and I don’t expect you to be. But please, please ditch the title if you’re ditching the lifestyle.

By Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a marketer, blogger and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.

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