One of the Women's National Basketball Association's (WNBA) rising stars may have alienated an important section of her sport's fan base after taking a public stance against same-sex marriage.
A three-time All Star forward with the San Antonio Silver Stars, Sophia Young has played professional ball for seven years, according to her WNBA bio. The Silver Stars' leading scorer last year, Young was forced to sit out this season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee. Perhaps the time off has given Young the chance to become more vocal politically, as she spoke out on Wednesday against same-sex marriage in San Antonio as the city debates a new LGBT anti-discrimination bill.
Young first took to Twitter on August 28th to voice her opposition to same-sex marriage in San Antonio. (Gay marriage is illegal everywhere in Texas.):
Should San Antonio be a city that allows same sex marriage?? I vote NO.— Sophia Young (@sophiayoung33) August 28, 2013
It should be noted that Young appears confused in terms of what legislation San Antonio is actually considering. In fact, the City Council is deciding whether or not to offer nondiscrimination protection for individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity within already existing legislation. However, it is not considering legalizing same-sex marriage.
Nevertheless, Young doubled down on her statement later that day with another tweet to fans:
My vote is still No... San Antonio should not allows Same sex marriages. pic.twitter.com/W5c9RMDwAF— Sophia Young (@sophiayoung33) August 28, 2013
Young did not respond to a Huffington Post request for comment. However her Twitter feed has since included this statement, which could be interpreted as a response to the controversy, as well as an indication that religion may be guiding her political views:
"God has not given me a spirit of fear; but of power, love and a sound mind" I will not be a afraid. I will stand up for Jesus Christ.— Sophia Young (@sophiayoung33) August 30, 2013
In a statement emailed to The Huffington Post, WNBA President Laurel J. Richie said that while she supports the free speech rights of all her players, she could not condone Young's particular viewpoint.
"Sophia has the right to express her point of view, however, I do not share her view," Richie wrote. "The WNBA supports diversity and we are committed to the equal and fair treatment of all people."
Other WNBA players, however, have been more outspoken. In a tweet directed at Young on August 29th, Seattle Storm star Lauren Jackson expressed shock over her colleague's posts:
@sophiayoung33 Seriously? OMG.— Lauren Jackson (@laurenej15) August 29, 2013
Everyone deserves the right to love, to be accepted and to be treated equally. WORKING TOWARD A BETTER WORLD FOR ALL.— Lauren Jackson (@laurenej15) August 29, 2013
The WNBA is actually light years ahead of any other professional American sports league when it comes to progress for gay players and gay fans. While the NFL and NHL are busy talking about the anticipation of a single openly-gay player, the WNBA's 2012 first draft pick, Brittney Griner, came out of the closet, was signed by Nike and was in a massive spread in ESPN magazine when she was drafted.
As it so happens, Griner and Young both attended the same school, Baylor University, albeit a few years apart. Griner has yet to respond to her fellow aluma's comments.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified the name of the WBNA's Silver Stars.
Exactly how effective Brown's anger management classes are going is questionable, given the series of<a href="http://www.eonline.com/news/chris_brown_drops_n-bombs_homophobic/218318" target="_hplink"> homophobic, racially-charged tweets</a> he sent out last December after rapper Raz, formerly of the group B2K, set him off. "@razb2k n---a you want attention!" he wrote. "Grow up n----a!!! Dick in da ass lil boy...Tell me this @razb2k!! Why when the money was coming in u won't complaining about getting butplugged! #homothug!!!" Later, Brown wrote, "I'm not homophobic! He's just disrespectful!!!"
CNN's Martin <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/06/roland-martin-david-beckham-glaad-super-bowl_n_1257036.html" target="_hplink">came under fire from gay rights groups</a> after tweeting that people should "smack the ish out" of male fans of a steamy Super Bowl commercial starring David Beckham. Martin, who has been a longtime analyst for CNN, was actively tweeting throughout the Super Bowl. After an H&M <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/david-beckham-hm-underwear-commercial_n_1241519.html" target="_hplink">commercial featuring Beckham clad only in his underwear aired</a>, Martin tweeted messages making fun of men who may have liked the ad. He wrote that "real bruhs" would not purchase underwear advertised by Beckham, and that people should "smack the ish out" of a male supporter of the ad.
The British soccer player found himself in hot water after <a href="http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/11/16/footballer-fined-1200-for-fully-homophobic-tweet/" target="_hplink">the following comment appeared</a> on his Twitter account: "Gays all over the tele what's wrong with Britain! Sorry I'm #FullyHomophobic." Akpan quickly apologized and denied sending the tweet himself, saying that someone in his family posted the comment without his knowledge. It was subsequently deleted.
No stranger to perceived homophobia, Shelton was heavily criticized <a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/blakeshelton/status/65999662171172865" target="_hplink">after he tweeted</a>, "Re-writing my fav Shania Twain song ... Any man that tries touching my behind he's gonna be a beaten, bleedin', heaving kind of guy." He later apologized for the gaffe via Twitter, noting: <blockquote>Hey y'all allow me to <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/blakeshelton/status/66171257435066368" target="_hplink">seriously apologize</a> for the misunderstanding with the whole re-write on the Shania song last night...</blockquote> <blockquote>It honestly <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/blakeshelton/status/66171941303762944" target="_hplink">wasn't even meant</a> that way... I now know that their are people out there waiting to jump at everything I say on here or anywhere</blockquote> <blockquote>But when it comes to<a href="https://twitter.com/#!/blakeshelton/status/66173127956242432" target="_hplink"> gay/lesbian rights</a> or just feelings... I love everybody. So go look for a real villain and leave me out of it!!!</blockquote> The original lyrics are, "Any man of mine better walk the line/ Better show me a teasin', squeezin', pleasin' kinda time."
Cee Lo Green
In June, the singer and "The Voice" co-host<a href="https://twitter.com/#!/ceelogreen" target="_hplink"> lashed out on Twitter</a> after a Minnesota music editor gave an episode of the hit series a lackluster review. He tweeted: "I respect your criticism, but be fair! People enjoyed last night! I'm guessing you're gay? And my masculinity offended you? Well f--k you!" As E Online is reporting, Cee Lo <a href="http://www.eonline.com/news/cee_lo_says_sorry_outrageous_homophobic/248478" target="_hplink">attempted an apology </a>on Twitter, writing: "Apologies gay community! What was homophobic about that? I said I was guessing he [was] gay which is fine but its nice to [know] what u think of me." The comment was deleted shortly thereafter.
Though her pop hits "I Kissed A Girl" and "Ur So Gay" have made her an icon in the gay community, Perry nonetheless was called transphobic when she posted a naked photo of a transgender person (a hairy body with breasts) <a href="http://www.glaad.org/2009/12/21/i-kissed-a-girl-singer-katy-perry-ridicules-transgender-community-on-twitter/" target="_hplink">alongside the caption</a>, "NSFW! I knew those little white last week of the birth control pills would still have an effect on your body! FU."
The rapper was slammed <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/50cent/status/23161813105" target="_hplink">after he tweeted</a>: "Perez Hilton calld me douchebag so I had my homie shoot up a gay wedding. wasnt his but still made me feel better." He was also called particularly insensitive <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/50cent/status/25954812348" target="_hplink">when he tweeted:</a> "If you a man and your over 25 and you don't eat pu**y just kill your self damn it. The world will be a better place. Lol"
The triple Olympic swimming gold medalist <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1310063/Australian-swimmer-Stephanie-Rice-apologises-homophobic-Twitter-slur.html" target="_hplink">lost a major sponsorship</a> after she tweeted, 'Suck on that faggots" when Australia's rugby union team, the Wallabies, defeated South Africa's Springboks in 2010. She later apologized, saying, "My comments were thoughtless and careless but I can assure you when I made those comments on Twitter I never intended to offend anybody."
The Game <a href="http://www.thegrio.com/entertainment/games-homophobic-hysterics-hurt-hip-hops-image.php" target="_hplink">first offered his take on homosexuality</a> in general in an interview, noting, "Game has a problem with people that are pretending not to be gay and are gay because the number one issue with that is that you could be fooling somebody and you could give them AIDS and they can die and so that in the closet sh*t is real scary." When TMZ wrote up the interview, he <a href="http://www.thegrio.com/entertainment/the-game-calls-out-closeted-gay-rappers.php" target="_hplink">reportedly tweeted</a>, "TMZ but look around, shit I be surprised when I see someone who's not GAY. My girl hair stylist is GAY & he kool. @50cent GAY n we was kool."
A tweet by Welsh rugby player Phillips read, "Aaron is the biggest loser I have ever seen, trying to turn it around and make Jay and Louise look bad! #BBUK #Faggot #Gimp #Getalife," allegedly referring to 2011's "Big Brother" winner Aaron Allard-Morgan, who kissed a male contestant on the show, <em>Pink News</em><a href="http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/11/16/ospreys-rugby-team-silent-on-players-alleged-gay-slur/" target="_hplink"> is reporting</a>. That tweet has since been deleted.
Though he later claimed his account had been hacked, Soulja Boy got heat when the following message<a href="http://www.essence.com/2011/06/23/celebrity-homophobic-rants/#kobes_poor_courtside_behavioral" target="_hplink"> reportedly appeared on his Twitter</a>: "I'm gonna keep talking sh*t to these white f*ggots until they unlike my page. f**king weirdo stalkers!"
Golec, an Australian soccer player, was <a href="http://fromthebeanbag.com/2011/11/06/a-league-stars-homophobic-tweet/" target="_hplink">slammed as homophobic</a> after he tweeted remarks about a referee. Golec obviously disagreed with Foschini's red card, first tweeting "Ben Williams worst referee ever" before posting "Ben Williams you are gay, biggest homo going around, you gypsy."
In June, Fuller -- a contract Red Bull racing crewman -- was <a href="http://www.scenedaily.com/news/articles/sprintcupseries/Red_Bull_crewman_fired_for_homophobic_tweets.html" target="_hplink">fired after posting a photo</a> of a gay pride banner on a car in San Francisco with the comment, "This is way [sic] I don't live here!" Though he removed the posts, he was nonetheless terminated from his position. "It was a joke between two friends and it cost me both of my jobs," Fuller said. "I'm not racist and I do not hate gay people. It wasn't intended to be what [it appeared]."
The BBC's Business Editor Robert Peston is <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2061819/Robert-Peston-rubbishes-Twitter-homophobia-criticism-bonkers-Queer-Street-row.html" target="_hplink">currently fighting homophobia claims</a>, after he posted an article to his Twitter account which read, "The Debt Management Office, has taken a reassuringly long-term approach to managing the UK government's debts - and without its prudence, we might all be in Queer Street or Skid Row by now." Two hours later, in response to the flurry of criticism, Peston wrote, "Some of you seem to think my use of the phrase 'Queer Street' is in some way homophobic. Bonkers."
The Oakland A's suspended pitching prospect Ian Krol (not pictured) this summer after he posted "a derogatory comment that included a homophobic slur and offensive language," <a href="http://eye-on-baseball.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/22297882/30579481" target="_hplink">according to </a><em>The San Francisco Chronicle</em>. The tweet, which has since been deleted,<a href="http://larrybrownsports.com/baseball/as-prospect-ian-krol-suspended-for-offensive-tweet-involving-gay-slur/76657" target="_hplink"> reportedly read</a>: "ASU is a bunch of fake a** f***, get on one knee a **** **, I'm better than you'll ever be..."