My article examining whether the New England Patriots of 2007 should have an asterisk next to any mention of them drew some oddly misplaced passion from readers. In fact, I received more hateful and personal insults from football fans than I ever have from Bush fans. Yep, American men love their football players. And I’m not talking about good old platonic love, judging from the rush to defend the cheaters. The most prototypical comment was this one, from a guy who for some reason thinks I’m a Republican (??). “I would suggest you take a look at who’s butt f**king you from behind, Mangini, of course, and try to actually reason why you’re so unhappy with this team’s monumental success.” The passion of these pathetic individuals who place such a high premium on defining their own lack of individuality by latching onto the success of athletes who wouldn’t take the time to piss on them if they were on fire is only to be expected. There is an almost erotic relationship between these kinds of football fans and their favorite players that is entirely in keeping with the fact that football is, without question, the gayest sport in America.
Think about it. If you saw big, burly, muscular guys dressed in outrageously flamboyant clothing highlighted by tight silky pants, one of whom was bent over and offering up his buttocks to be fondled by the hands of the person generally regarded as the most charismatic member of the group, what would be your first impression? That you’d just stumbled upon a homoerotic orgy, right? Now add to that the fact that in no other professional sport will you see such a sight truly reminiscent of a gay orgy as when these flamboyantly dressed men pile on top of each other. Let’s face it, there is more physical contact between sweaty men in your average football game than in your average gay bar. (Well, I am assuming; on that I could be wrong, having never actually been inside a gay bar.) I do know that except for professional wrestling, which is most definitely not a sport, football has the most man-on-man physical contact.
But the gayness of football extends well beyond the gridiron. Ever take a close look at the beer commercials that air incessantly in the three hours between the opening kickoff and the final whistle? Ever notice that in almost all of them women are presented as intrusions into the male “camaraderie” either in the form of unwanted attention from wives and girlfriends or wish-fulfillment in the form of ridiculously sexy women that most overweight couch potatoes who spend ten to fifteen hours every Saturday and Sunday during fall and winter engaging in such sedentary conditions that the only locomotion involved requires the few dozen steps it takes to get to the kitchen or bathroom and back could never hope to get? There is something downright disconcerting about the average beer commercial that airs during football games. Nearly all of them show large gatherings of men in a situation where all women are viewed with some level of suspicion or fear. The gay factor at work in these commercials often reach a level that, were they shown during an airing of Brokeback Mountain, they would cause most male viewers to nervously reach for the remote to flip it to the Spike channel.
And let’s not even get into that whole thing where players are eager to pat each other on the butt after a good play.