Brendan Haywood's Media Aspirations In Apology Mode | Wizards Blog Truth About

Brendan Haywood’s Media Aspirations In Apology Mode

Updated: August 19, 2009
flickr/Keith Allison

flickr/Keith Allison

In one clip [Stephon Marbury] cries uncontrollably for 5 straight minutes with no shirt on while his homeboy rubs his shoulders – why, I don’t know?! In another clip, he eats Vaseline, claiming his throat is sore and that this would solve the problem. Not to be outdone, he has another clip where he dances to a song called “Barbie Doll!” That was very disturbing. If I was on his team, there’s no way I’m getting undressed in front of him after watching that…

When Brendan Haywood blogged the above quote a couple weeks ago, it struck me as something that could be interpreted as slightly homophobic. But at the time, no one really caught on.

Since the comment seemed relatively subtle, I withheld from drawing conclusions, wondering if it would eventually garner more attention … likely unwanted attention. Perhaps leading Brendan to conclude, like his teammate Gilbert Arenas, that blogging can be a “double-edged sword.”

Well, it happened. Haywood couldn’t resist, once again playing a two-bit comedian in the crowded line to pile on Marbury.

Brendan reaffirmed what he likely considers closing act material on Starbury Marbury in a recent interview with Hardcore Sports Radio:

At first it was cool, but after a while it just became disturbing.  He’s on YouTube crying with no shirt on for no reason, sweating while his boy’s rubbing his shoulders.  What’s that about?  That’s like gay porn. I don’t understand it.  He’s dancing to a song called ‘Barbie Doll’, doing like stripper moves.  I have no idea what’s going on with the guy, it’s almost like he’s trying to end his own career.  There’s not a GM out there that would touch Marbury right now… Have you seen the ‘Barbie Doll’ clip?  Click on YouTube and go to Barbie Doll.  There’s no way any other professional athletes would wanna get dressed around this guy, because you gotta think something is a little, he’s swinging from both sides of the fence.

And this time, even though Haywood was out of the blogosphere, he predictably attracted a fair share of blog-worthy attention from the likes of Dan Steinberg of the DC Sports Bog, Bethlehem Shoals of the Sporting News, Jarrett Carter of Stet Sports, AJ Daulerio of Deadspin, and Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo Sports.

Can you guess which attention getting headline matches which blog/author?
(roll over/click for the answers)

Marbury sticking his tongue between a ‘v’ made by his index and middle fingers and licking to the sounds of the Barbie Doll song, is certainly “dude, get away from me with that goofy stuff” behavior … gay or straight. And, (*clears throat like a gentleman*) Marbury’s ‘V’ for victory has certain heterosexual implications anyway.

But what if, as was speculated once upon a time, Marbury did sign with the Wizards, and subsequently produced similar summertime videos. (Obviously for this scenario to be reasonable, Marbury’s web appearances would have to come in snippets, something much less heartbreaking than 24 hours of coverage — just ask DeShawn Stevenson). Would Haywood then have to apologize for feeling a tad uncomfortable about undressing in front of Marbury?

Of course … if he was still trying to make a joke and accuse someone of being a certain sexual preference because of unrelated actions.

So it seems that the problem arises not necessarily with Haywood’s concerns about undressing in front of Marbury, but rather when he labels him as a “gay” who’s “swinging from both sides of the fence” … or simply, using the “G” word, as Steinberg puts it.

Not to conjure up tales of fig leaves and the inherent consciousness when it comes to being nude in front of someone … regardless of  sexual preference … but doesn’t Haywood have the right to be uncomfortable undressing in front of the same or opposite sex, gay or straight?

But being fully aware of today’s male athletic locker room culture, and not glossing over issues regarding understanding, education, and social implications, Haywood should tread very carefully going forward, especially with his public figure aspirations. His comments clearly reflect that he needs to be more aware of cultural sensitivities, such as the one described by Kevin Arnovitz of True Hoop.

But unlike Kelly Dwyer, I don’t think Haywood is really concerned that Marbury, or any homosexual who might be present in a pro sports locker room, is going to “jump his bones.”

All things considered, Haywood’s thoughts rest slightly toward the ‘much ado’ end of the spectrum than toward the ‘angry mob uproar’ end. I mean, he wasn’t dropping the ‘F’ word that pertains to the ‘G’ word. But he was, unsuccessfully, trying to make a joke that’s played out … and that’s why Brendan ended up playing himself.

He could have avoided everything, including his apology below, if he’d just used the word “effeminate” when referring to Marbury, instead of dubbing his actions as ‘gay’, allowing people to easily conclude that Brendan was being ignorant and presumptive.

My last blog about some of Stephon Marbury’s actions, combined with a radio interview that I did, have been misinterpreted by some as speaking out against homosexuality. I’ve received some comments and so have the Wizards about it. I just wanted to take a time out and let you know that no disrespect was intended. I was just trying to have fun with a crazy situation. I don’t support or condemn homosexuality and I believe in everyone making choices for themselves. If it doesn’t affect me, I don’t really care. I hope no one was offended because I wasn’t trying to come off like Tim Hardaway. -Brendan Haywood

With the apology already being called “nominal“, “not good enough“, “indignant” (a bit over-reactionary), and “fair enough” , one can only hope that Haywood accepts Arnovitz’s invitation for a thoughtful discussion on True Hoop.

Having previously been talked to by a member of the Wizards organization about his comments regarding Michael Vick, clearly blogging has not only allowed Haywood to connect more with fans, but has also led him to learn some lessons by being exposed to the opinions of others.

But despite road bumps of controversy, Haywood’s politicking for a media career after his playing days are over will likely continue to reach Clay Davis levels. He wants to be the guy who “tells it like it is” … {pause}

{resume} … Hell, on that radio show, he essentially gave a full run down of his media résumé, and was practically on one knee professing his love of sports media.

What Haywood needs to realize that he’s not yet a member of the media, and is certainly no Charles Barkley. Would Haywood-Marbury-Gay-Gate (@ people who hate placing ‘Gate’ at the end of things) have been a blogger trending topic if Barkley was the antagonist instead of Brendan? I have my suspicions not.

But no matter how any of us feel about the issue, we all could stand to be subject to an open forum on traditional sports machismo and its evolving interactions with the gay community.

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.