Athletes are stupid.

So former NBA player John Amaechi is gay. And out of the closet. Good for John.

And good for me, too, because it gives me something to write about other than my life:

The stupidity of athletes.

I never understood why anyone would idolize or worship a professional athlete. They're not the sharpest crayons in the box. Hell, most of the paper that's wrapped around a crayon is sharper than the majority of professional athletes I've met.

Granted, they're good at what they do - give us a distraction. They can hit a baseball, dunk a basketball, shoot a puck, drive in circles ... whatever their particular ability - that's what they're good at.

Upstanding citizens? Read the police blotter and judge for yourself.

Most likely to be remembered for their brains? Hardly.


Certainly not for lack of access to education. They go to high school, and often get scholarships to great universities who use them to generate money and further their athletic abilities while calling them "student athletes" and making sure they maintain their academic standards so they can entertain the populace on the athletic field, furthering the coddling that started from the first time they picked up whatever sport they excel at.

Coddled. In high school to get attention from the media and the scholarship.

Coddled. In college to get the attention from the media, the boosters, the fans, so the university could make money off them - and their sport - continue to provide a quality education for others.

No, this isn't the bitter ranting of a failed athlete. I was often the guy beat up by athletes in high school, because I was smart. I used my brain, they used their fists.

And it's not the bitter ranting of a wimp whining about that. My sister hit harder than most of those guys.

This is the bitter ranting of a former sportswriter who's had many interactions with professional athletes and realized just how stupid most of them are.

I used to be a massive hockey fan. I covered NHL and minor league games for newspapers, radio and my own publication. I met and became friends with a number of hockey players. Most of them have the common sense of a stump.

But they can skate. Well. Or fight. On skates.

And I've covered football (high school, college and professional), basketball (high school and college) and baseball (high school and pro), and interviewed a lot of athletes. "Um, well, you know, I saw him, you know, coming across, you know, the middle. And um, you know, I threw him, you know, the ball."

Rocket science? Hardly. Seriously - I once heard Plaxico Burris use the phrase "um, you know" nine times in a 15 second answer.

Um, Plaxico - you know nothing.

But back to John Amaechi.

On February 7th, the retired player announced he was gay. His autobiography comes out on Valentine's Day.

The reactions from his fellow athletes to his announcement are proof that you can't fix stupid.

Grant Hill said it might give other players comfort or confidence to come out as well. Then again, Grant Hill said he didn't know Amaechi when they were teammates from 1999 to 2001. There are 12 players on an NBA team. Either the super-talented Hill has his own locker room like Barry Bonds, or he's afraid to admit he was there but smart enough to know he doesn't want the backlash.

But that's not the funniest thing said. There are two that are tied in my mind:

Shavlik Randolph, a white boy from Raleigh, North Carolina, who played his college ball at Duke said the first:

"As long as you don't bring your gayness on me I'm fine."

Would that like coughing on someone when you have a cold? Jeebus, what an ass.

Randolph's current Philadelphia teammate Steven Hunter chimed in with this bit of genius commentary: "As long as he don't make any advances toward me I'm fine with it. As long as he came to play basketball like a man and conducted himself like a good person, I'd be fine with it."

"... play basketball like a man and conducted himself like a good person ..."

So gay men can't play basketball? Or be good people? Again, damn.

Initially I was pissed about this wondering how someone could graduate high school and attend college for at least two years (Hunter, DePaul, 1999-2001; Randolph, Duke, 2002-2005) and still be that stupid.

Then I realized we're dealing with athletes.

Not among the brightest.

Just gifted at shooting a ball.

And shooting off their mouths.

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