Every year we crown our annual ‘Jerk of the Year,’ honoring those in sports who were, well, jerks. Last year’s ‘Jerk of the Year’ was the Belmont University administration, who fired soccer coach Lisa Howe after she came out of the closet.
This year we have many worthy candidates from football, basketball, hockey and soccer; Nigeria, Canada and the U.S.; athletes, coaches, and sportscaster. Our ‘Jerk of the Year’ will be announced Jan. 4 so get your vote in now! And thanks to everyone who offered their nominees!
Damian Goddard. When sports agent Todd Reynolds Tweeted his opposition to same-sex marriage last spring, Goddard Tweeted his support for Reynolds’ bigoted position. Goddard was later fired. He’s found recent employment with anti-gay Maggie Gallagher’s new anti-gay organization, the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance, whose sole purpose is to fight against marriage equality. While others have made their anti-gay voices heard, Goddard is the rare (former) sports figure whose job it is now to fight against equality.
David Tyree. The former New York Giants wideout, best known for his miracle catch in the Super Bowl, used his 15 minutes of fame this year to fight against marriage equality in New York. Tyree, who just 40 years ago would not have been able to marry the woman of his choice in many states, recorded a PSA for the National Organization for Marriage (which is actually against marriage), an anti-gay-rights organization. In the PSA he said gay marriage leads to anarchy.
Eucharia Uche. While other sportspeople talked about their homophobia, Nigerian national soccer coach Uche did something about it. Last summer she said lesbians livea “dirty life” and she wouldn’t tolerate it. She also said there were lesbians on her Super Falcons team when she took over in 2009, but she kicked them all off the team. With so much homophobia literally and figuratively strangling gay people in Africa, Uche was sports’ symbol of the terrible struggle there.
Jerry Sandusky. The former defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team was charged with various counts of sexual assault against young boys. To make matters worse, many of them were allegedly part of Sandusky’s football camps and other football programs. The entire Penn State athletic program was shamed by the allegations, which ended the historic tenure of head football coach Joe Paterno.
Jocks who blow off their ‘fag’ comment. We make a distinction here for the athletes who uttered anti-gay slurs this year and tried to defend it. The most prominent was Kobe Bryant, who essentially told everyone to take a chill pill after he was caught calling a referee a “faggot” on national TV. He justified his actions for 48 hours before apologizing. Others included two of Joe In Philly’s favorites: DeSean Jackson and Wayne Simmonds.
Tim Tebow. Because.
Honorable mentions: Sports agent Todd Reynolds, who created the Tweet that Goddard replied to; USC quarterback Matt Barkley, who Tweeted his opposition to same-sex marriage rights; Croatian soccer president Vlatko Markovic said gays are not allowed on the country’s national team.
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