As the response grows from Cleveland Browns and TCU (Texas Christian University) alum Tank Carder and his homophobic rant on twitter comes this letter from an alum of TCU. Vincent Pryor, who was during his tenure at TCU faced the fear of coming out of the closet wanted to tell Carder why what he said was wrong in the form of a well thought out letter.
*Disclaimer* again for the purpose of continuity I am leaving the entirety of the homophobic slurs in context of what is written in Pryor’s letter.
In this part of the letter, Pryor specifically points out how that fear of coming out almost led to suicide:
I feared that I would be kicked off the team or that my scholarship would be taken away and that my family would be embarrassed and ashamed. As a result, I hid in the background and didn’t play to my full potential because I was concerned that any attention I drew to myself would lead to further questions about my personal life and to rumors or ridicule that would ultimately have me removed from the team.
These fears led me to consider suicide on a number of occasions and it was only through the support of a few close friends that I developed the courage to tell my coaches and teammates that I was gay, just before the last game of my senior year. To my surprise, nearly all of my coaches and teammates supported me. In that final game on Nov. 25, 1994, with a share of the conference championship on the line, I felt free for the first time and I had the best game of my college career. With nothing to fear, I played to my full potential and had a record number of sacks (4 ½), helping my team earn a share of the conference championship and the opportunity to play in a bowl game for the first time in 10 years.
And in this section, Pryor tells Carder how homophobic slurs have so much more meaning than “just a word” and how words do have power:
When you call someone a faggot, it isn’t “just a word.” It is a degrading term that implies there is something wrong with being gay. It implies disgust in something you don’t want to be associated with. And ultimately, it pushes every young athlete who may be struggling with their identity further into the closet, where they are surrounded by their fears and insecurities.
“When you call someone a faggot, you reinforce all of the fears that I struggled with and other young gay athletes struggle with to this day. They will think that your views represent their teammates’ views and they will stay hidden and never realize their full potential as an athlete. Although it may be hard for you to understand, this kind of fear and isolation can be devastating, as it was for me for many years.”
It would be nice for Carder to show some authenticity in his apology instead of retweeting asinine zealots that will support him, in spite of his hateful flaws all the time on twitter. It’s not going away Carder so be an adult and truly own your mistake.