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Some are blaming the brutality of the game. Others are blaming the mentality of the athletes. Some are blaming testosterone. Still others are blaming manmade facilities, like locker rooms.

These days, a lot of athletes are good at blaming their behavior and attitudes on things outside their control. The behavior in this case: killing another man’s spirit in the name of preserving one’s own manhood.

That’s what homophobia does. It kills the spirit. It tells little boys with big sports dreams that their big sports dreams are worthless unless they suppress what comes natural to them (regardless of how natural or unnatural it comes to anyone else).

You can call someone a fag a lot of ways. You can call them a fag aloud. Or you can deny them access to any particular slice of the American Dream, the one that’s supposed to be pre-ambled with “liberty and justice for all” and “all men are created equal.” Either way, and no matter who and what you blame, you’re still calling that someone a fag. You’re still telling them they are worth less than you. No matter all else, you’re still killing their spirit.

Dear Danny Fortson: When you tell the press that having a gay person on your team “wouldn’t be a good idea” and justify your comments by saying athletes still have a grade-school mentality, not only are you not speaking highly about the mental capacity of your teammates, you’re abusing some kid’s spirit by telling him he’s not good enough for your world, no matter his athletic ability, because he is worth less than you.

Dear Robert Parish: When you reason that testosterone causes the macho (read: intolerant) and chauvinist environment in the locker room, you’re reasoning that it’s OK for men to behave the way they behave because of an agent in their bodies and chauvinism (which is acceptable?). You’re also saying: screw you, little boy with big sports dreams, grown men can’t help themselves from being heartless souls who treat you like crap and that’s just the...

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