You’re right, one of the reasons we have separate men and women bathrooms is the potential for violence. But another reason is due to the discomfort of being checked out by someone who could be attracted to you. No honest straight man can say if he was put in a locker room full of naked ladies he wouldn’t check out one, a few, or all of the women. It wouldn’t be creepy, it wouldn’t be deviant — it would be normal. And no one would suggest in that situation: Get over yourselves ladies, don’t be so narcissistic, your discomfort is your problem.
The argument that I’m actually making is that potential sexual attraction creates a new dynamic in the locker room. And while it doesn’t make me uncomfortable, I think it’s absurd to say someone like Larry Johnson’s discomfort is illogical.
In the end, I don’t have a solution to this problem. It isn’t for players to live a lie and stay in the closet. But the lack of a solution doesn’t require us to veer so far into political correctness to pretend there isn’t a problem.
Chris: But here’s the thing. There have been gay athletes before. We know this because several of them have come out (Jason Collins while active, others after they were done playing). Simple statistics say there have to have been many others that never came out. And yet, somehow, there’s never been a single reported incident of one athlete sexually assaulting another athlete, whether it’s in the shower or anywhere else in the locker room.
Essentially, what you’re arguing is that because something that has never before happened in the entire history of professional sports might possibly maybe potentially happen if someone were to absolutely lose their mind and ignore every standard of decency and common behavior that we learn from a very young age, that we should force people to live a lie.
I find I can live with the discomfort of people who can’t wrap their minds around the idea that the world does not revolve around them. They can always shower somewhere else if it bugs them that much. I’ll be in there dropping the soap, perfectly secure in the knowledge that I have a wife who loves me, whom I love back, and that there is an HR department in my organization I can turn to if something inappropriate were to occur. In fact, I’d probably be flattered if someone told me I looked good.
I’m comfortable with who I am. Other people deserve the same chance.
Will: No, again, that’s not what I’m arguing. I didn’t mention sexual harassment. I certainly didn’t mention sexual assault. I did specifically mention “living a lie” and said no one should be forced to do that.
I am only recognizing reality and human nature and observing that people will get checked out. Getting checked out would flatter you. It would flatter me. But I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t flatter everyone. Take a quick poll of all the ladies you know about how they feel when they’re ogled. Would they all feel flattered?
I don’t care if gay guys are in the locker room. I care about intellectual consistency. If people like Larry Johnson, who are uncomfortable, get labeled as homophobes … then any ladies who have a problem with you in the locker room are prudes.
Again, I don’t care … we can all meet up in the showers at the YWCA this afternoon. Or we become more understanding of other’s discomfort. You get it one way or the other. Trying to split the difference is just politically correct emotionalism.
Editor’s note: Will Cain is a CNN contributor and co-host of Real News at The Blaze. Chris Kluwe is a punter for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League. He is an ambassador for Athlete Ally, an organization working to end homophobia in sports, as are Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens and Scott Fujita of the New Orleans Saints.