Why the Seahawks have no choice but to move beyond Dori Monson’s outdated views
On Friday, the NFL released a full-length publication making an effort to celebrate LGBTQ + History Month, which happens in October. From the publication:
October is LGBTQ + History Month, which includes National Coming Out Day (October 11) and Spirit Day (October 15). Today the NFL is launching a number of new initiatives to engage the LGBTQ + community.
Includes a dedicated website (NFL.com/PRIDE); a PSA celebrating NFL legends and expressing support and allies; expanded partnerships with GLAAD and The Trevor Project; a PRIDE NFL sign; and a selection of LGBTQ + content that will air on the NFL Network throughout October. Additionally, Troy Vincent, NFL Executive Vice President Football Operations, posted a comment on NFL.com
"The LGBTQ + community is an important audience for our sport and an important part of the NFL family," said Jonathan Beane, NFL chief diversity officer. "We constantly strive to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone."
This is completely admirable as the NFL has historically not welcomed those whose life preferences are in any way outside the "traditional norm". Look no further than the case of former Rams linebacker Michael Sam, the first NFL player to publicly appear gay. The Rams picked Sam in the seventh round of the 2014 draft, and while he never played a loss in regular season football, he made quite a splash in and around the league. Former Buccaneers and Colts head coach Tony Dungy, who has held a prominent place within the reach of players for years, said Sam would be a "distraction" from media attention - in clarifying comments where Dungy said he wouldn't draw Sam at all.
As OutSports elaborates, former players Ryan O'Callahan, Jeff Rohrer, RK Russell and Wade Davis, all of whom came out gay or bi after retirement, featured in the NFL's recent video that aired on Fox's early Sunday TV shows will begin by saying, "To all of the current players who are thinking of coming out when you're ready, so are we."
The video also shows the safety of the Vikings Anthony Harris, the Broncos offensive guardian, Dalton Risner, the Ravens defender, Calais Campbell, the Browns receiver Jarvis Landry, the Ravens defender, Marlon Humphrey, the Buccaneers Rob Gronkowski and the Cardinals- Recipient DeAndre Hopkins. I have you, we have you, we support you, we need all of us, and you deserve to be everything. "
It's a great initiative, but as was the case in a league that recently has a much-needed focus on civil rights, police brutality, and the stories of people of color at least 25% of the NFL's team owners after the Trump administration financially supports there will be some hypocrisy problems to be solved.
This put the Seahawks on the clock to address an internal issue they were doing with the suspension of the Dori Monson broadcaster. Monson has been with the team since 2002 and has been the Seahawks' pre-game, post-game and halftime show on local radio. Monson is far-right and has come out publicly on a number of questions, which is not the problem. The problem is, Monson is trying to be more inclusive and at the same time make people feel better about their preferences. Monson tweeted such things (since deleted) regarding a recent statement by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee during a governor's debate.
On Friday, the Seahawks suspended Monson indefinitely, as did local talk radio station KIRO. 97.3 FM
“We appreciate the action KIRO 97.3 FM and the Seattle Seahawks have taken today and believe the suspension of Dori Monson is a good first step. However, we also ask Mr. Monson to sincerely apologize and take steps to build empathy and understanding for our transgender community - and that he recognize the harmful effects of his words by taking actionable steps to address his history of homophobic and transphobic utterances Seattle Pride executive director Krystal Marx said in a statement to the Seattle Times. “If he is not ready to take these important steps, Seattle Pride will continue to demand his immediate resignation.
“Numerous studies have shown that trans people are at significantly higher risk of depression, anxiety, isolation and suicide, mainly due to ridicule, discrimination and violence. The fact that gender identity is openly derided in public only adds to that stigma and further endangers transgender lives. "
"We don't speak out on human resources matters," said Bryan Buckalew, program director for KIRO-FM, to Touchdown Wire. We asked the Seahawks for an explanation but received no response.
Monson, in his capacity as a talk radio host, has also sided with the police in questionable shootings, vilified peaceful protesters, claims Colin Kaepernick is "worth more trouble than him," and ridiculed LGBTQ + people in front of the above mentioned tweet was created.
That's hard to reconcile with an NFL franchise that has been at the forefront of these and other civic issues.
Before someone starts "culture abandonment," it's not about Monson losing his job. The point is, the Seahawks have been particularly serious about being inclusive and diverse on all possible levels, and this reaction from their primary radio host at a time when the league is looking to break down barriers has been an obvious problem. Monson has the right to say what he wants, and he also has the right to face the consequences of his words.
It was up to the Seahawks to issue a statement clearly showing the franchise's commitment to all of these things. With Monson's suspension, they did that - up to a point. If the suspension does not result in termination, further questions will (and should) be raised.
The NFL either "woke up" as is often claimed these days or it hasn't. It's time to get off the fence.
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