The Media Is Placing Too Much Emphasis On Adam Rippon's Sexuality, Not His Athleticism

The Media Is Placing Too Much Emphasis On Adam Rippon's Sexuality, Not His Athleticism

Adam Rippon's ability to be a gold medalist doesn't depend on being gay.
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The media went wild when Adam Rippon, of Clark Summit, Pennsylvania announced that he would be one of the three men selected to participate in the Winter Olympics in figure skating. Adam Rippon is also openly gay, making him the first openly gay man to qualify for the Winter Olympics.

While this is a huge step for the LGBT community who needs visibility and representation especially during a time where homophobic politicians hold office, the media has done little to normalize it.

Upon the announcement of Rippon on the team, the media mostly focused on his sexuality rather than his athleticism, even going as far as asking him personal questions about his political beliefs that have nothing to with his career as a figure skater or his time in the Olympics.

Of course, we all know that Vice President, Mike Pence, is wholeheartedly anti-LGBT, a supporter of conversion therapy and business discriminating against gay people on the basis of religious opinion. Mike Pence is attending the Winter Games, representing the U.S. and usually plans to meet up and congratulate U.S. athletes after their run.

Pence’s agent apparently reached out to Rippon to “clear the air,” however, Rippon denied the offer on the basis that he didn’t feel a meeting would be appropriate before the Olympics. Rippon had also told media that he didn’t want his Olympic run to be focused on his opinions about Pence.

A month ago he had stated that he disagreed with the Trump Administration's view on LGBT issues. He said, “ I have no problem with what I've said because I stand by it, but I think right now the Olympics are about Olympic competition.”

Media has also been obnoxious in its focus on Rippon’s sexuality.

Asking questions like, “What is it like being a gay figure skater.”

The issue with this question is that it implies that his sexuality has an effect on the quality of him as an athlete.

It acts as if his sexuality is the most important part of his identity when that is not the case. His ability to skate well does not correlate with his feelings towards men. Gay is an adjective, like blonde or pale. It is a part of what separates him, but being blonde has no impact on how a person skates.

It isn’t new for the media to focus on a person’s status as a “minority.” Media tends to love to focus on a person’s race or gender hoping to find a wholesome story about a person’s struggle. What is it like being a black politician? What is it like being a female athlete? One would think these questions asked by news people are genuine, but really they’re searching for an interesting story. Something to get good ratings. They’re using these peoples struggles to get views instead of caring about what these people bring to the table in their field based on their own skill unrelated to an adjective society uses to define them.

Rippon is more than just his sexuality, and he knows that. He’s comfortable with who he is. On Twitter, he said, “I was recently asked in an interview what it's like to be a gay athlete in sports. I said that it’s exactly like being a straight athlete. Lots of hard work but usually done with better eyebrows.”
Cover Image Credit: @adaripp

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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The Warriors' Fans May Need To Be Concerned About Stephen Curry

The six-time All-Star point guard's PPG has dipped over the past few games.

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The Golden State Warriors have been the most dominant NBA team over the past five years. They have claimed three NBA championships in the past four seasons and look to pull off a three-peat as they currently hold first place in the Western Conference more than halfway into the 2018-2019 NBA season. Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has been one of the primary reasons for their sustained success and is regarded by many around the NBA as the greatest shooter of all time and one of the best point guards in the league today. However, his points per game (PPG) total has dipped over the last few games. Should this be concerning for Warriors fans?

Curry got off to a hot streak early in the season and has had a few notable games like every season. He scored 51 points in three quarters while tallying 11 three-pointers against the Washington Wizards in the fifth game of the season and has delivered in the clutch with high-scoring games against the Los Angeles Clippers on December 23, 2018 (42 PTS) and Dallas Mavericks on January 13, 2019 (48 PTS).

However, Curry's consistency and point total have slipped over the past few games. He only put up 14 points and had a generally sloppy three-point shooting performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 2, and only 19 points four days later against the San Antonio Spurs, who were resting two of their best players, Demar Derozan and Lamarcus Aldridge due to load management. In addition, he only managed 20 points against a hapless Phoenix Suns team who made an expected cakewalk win for Golden State much harder than it should have been.

Perhaps Curry's numbers have dipped because he is still adjusting to having center Demarcus Cousins in the offense, or maybe I am simply exaggerating because Curry's standards are so high. The Warriors have won fifteen of their last sixteen games and are currently in cruise control heading for the top seed in the Western Conference. Perhaps the Warriors will ask more of Curry if the situation gets direr.

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