I have to admit, I'm more of a football/boxing type of guy, but there are rows and rows of dedicated hockey fans that happen to be gay. According to NYTimes.com, hockey players aren't the only ones taking backhand shots on the ice. The NYTimes.com report hones in on gay Rangers fans that feel alienated during what has become a traditional home game chant. Apparently, season ticket holder Larry Goodman is infamous for doing a "goofy" dance during Rangers home games—to which the crowd repeatedly chants: “Ho-mo Lar-ry!”
I can't say I've seen Larry live in action, but I have seen the frequented YouTube clips of Goodman. Interestingly, I can't quite figure out what makes Larry a "homo" as the crowd chants. He's actually a very bad dancer and most of the gay men I know can cut up the floor—so it can't be that. Maybe it's his bald head?.. No. His Rangers jersey? No, those are as straight as they come. Maybe his wild antics in the stands warrants such a nickname? Na... It's not usually the gay guys who revert back to adolescence when they drink a few too many. I just don't get the connection between Larry and gay.
No, I don't get it and Madison Square Garden, owner and home of the Rangers, doesn't seem to care. Now, this is hockey at MSG. I'm not going to pretend like Rangers games aren't one big chilly locker room or act like the sport isn't a tooth deficient romp. My gripe lies with the responsibility of the establishment to protect all of its season ticket holders. Fans even booed one game when the New York City Gay Hockey Association, a recreational league, flashed across the mega screen.
If Larry was being called anything else but homo—say [racist word] Larry or [sexist word] Larry or [other derogatory word] Larry—the Garden would be on the inappropriate fan behavior like pucks on ice.
In the Garden's defense though, The Times reports that The Garden, after receiving pressure from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the gay hockey league and New York City Council Woman Christine Quinn, broadcasts warnings that fans who "behave offensively" will be removed. They have also added additional security. MSG spokesman Barry Watkins states that some people have been ejected from the game for anti-gay remarks, assuring protesters that The Garden has taken "aggressive steps to deal with the offensive behavior."
So, what are gay Ranger fans to do while the Rangers are being so aggressive? Some have left the icy environment, like season ticket holders Kevin Jennings and Ray Stankes. I understand. Gay people's money is still green money. I wouldn't sit in the stands while thousands of hyped beer-clad fans chant "homo" either.
But what impact do anti-gay chants have on other fans? Chris Brand, a gay Islander fan told The Times, “It’s sort of a spur-of-the-moment thing. People are riled up. I don’t think people have thought about it too much.”
Yes, "thought about it" they have not! Which is chilling given there are now kids on YouTube making videos imitating Larry's "homo" dance—a perfect example of kids emulating adult behavior. The title the boys' home made clip is "Homo Larry," which comes as no surprise.
Read the Times story: Gay Hockey Fans Criticize Garden
Gay Sports Interviews:
Interview with Cyd Zeigler from Outsports.com
Interview with Former NBA Player John Amaechi
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