Thursday, February 21, 2008

Open Letter: LZ Granderson

UPDATE: Filtering Craig has a similar take on his own blog. The Starting Five will be posting an interview with LZ Granderson about the incident shortly, and from my brief conversation with Mizzo, it'll be worth your time and bring in new details.

LZ, I've usually enjoyed reading your columns and found them informative. I read your latest article on about your adventure in New Orleans, where you apparently had an alteraction with a drunken group of men who tried to beat you up. While I am curious what exactly you said to those drunken boors to trigger physical violence, I'll take your word for it that you were the innocent victim in this situation. It must have been terrible to be walking along, dressed up for the party, and then have a group of men randomly yelling derogatory homosexual epithets at you. According to your own article, there was no obvious sign of your homosexuality, unless you count slightly tighter than normal clothing. You weren't kissing a guy, and it doesn't sound like your T-shirt read "I love Men", ha. Yet, this crowd somehow picked up on the fact that you are a homosexual, and hounded you for it. They grabbed at incomplete evidence, made an assumption that they had no right to make (but since when are drunks logical), and judged you as being homosexual and in need of mockery. An acquiantance once told me that this was the hardest part of being attracted to men; the feeling that it's instantly obvious to everyone that he was, and not being able to turn off those "vibes" in the presence of other people. (The more crass refer to this as "gaydar", if you will.) Perhaps that was what stung you the most and caused you to "go Detroit" on those drunks; the feeling that you were being judged on circumstantial evidence, at best, by a bunch of strangers who didn't know you and had never heard you speak. It's a cruel feeling for those different from the mainstream in appearance to suffer through.

I'm not here to lessen the emotional impact of what happened to you; in fact, I want you to fully think about how you felt on that day, when people judged you without ever understanding you. Then, think about the Brady Quinn story and its similarities to your own. Once again, we have drunk people doing stupid things. Once again, we have incomplete evidence being used to make a judgment on what someone is or isn't, on what someone did or didn't do. There was a 911 call that blamed Brady for hurling insults, but I'm sure that, being a black man, you know that people tend to blame the person who stands out from the crowd when something bad happens. Brady Quinn did get in an argument with some guy, but we don't know exactly what the two men were arguing about, and the police never arrested Brady. Instead, they arrested the other man. Perhaps there was a police coverup because he was a local sports hero; but we have no way of knowing that, do we?

So then, why pull Brady Quinn's story into your own and judge him on the basis of incomplete evidence to make a point about the NFL? The NFL has nothing to do with your own story in New Orleans; it was the NBA All-Star game. Why use stories about drunk men misbehaving late at night to make it seem as if Gay America has something to fear from the 96% of us who don't think getting drunk and intimidating people is a socially responsible act?

I promise you that if I had seen what happened to you in New Orleans, I would have helped you, because a drunken mob is a scary thing indeed when a man faces it alone. Questions of morality are best discussed over a good cup of coffee, not a trampled body. But I resent your attempt to bring additional scrutiny to a football player who already has been unfairly villified for his appearance and sexuality for the sake of furthering your own agenda. I'm a Browns fan, and I'm upset at the level of unsubstantiated gossip already attached to Brady Quinn before he's thrown 10 passes in the NFL. The man will have a hard enough time adjusting to the NFL (we all saw those Notre Dame bowl games!) without having to be punished in the court of social opinion for crimes it's not clear he ever committed. To me, it feels like you're adding to that gossip and making the same unfair judgments on someone else as what was done to you in New Orleans. There were better ways for you to prove your point than dragging Brady Quinn into the story. Your own story was a strong enough reminder that although we may disagree with our neighbor's morals, we all have a responsibility to protect our neighbors from physical harm.


  1. MC I'm posting this tomorrow. Waiting on a jpeg from LZ. I'll link to you in the interview.


  2. poor baby, u. your li'l bromance attraction to B.Quinn has been challenged. i feel bad for u, except not at all.

    y u gotta be trashin LZ. I mean, would it really be any different if JZ were straight and got that treatment. and so what if a gay bro has a slight chip on his shoulder. he had a right to respond.

    i'll give u this, i wanna check out that LZ article, ha. and i'm indifferent to Quinn. y u think Quinn deserves not to be critiqued just like u critiqued JZ, dude.