Larry Johnson incident: The homophobic culture of professional athletics takes a big hit

My father, the late Jim Beauchamp, was an Atlanta Braves coach and major league baseball player. So, as his gay son, I have seen first hand the pervasive culture of homophobia in professional athletics. Not only am I certain there are gay athletes who suffer from this culture, but there are friends and family of professional athletes who just so happen to be gay. Every time bigoted remarks are allowed, it only feeds the perception that it is somehow acceptable to engage in that kind of unacceptable behavior.

Therefore, as a gay son of a major league baseball player and coach for the Atlanta Braves, I applaud the Kansas City Chiefs for punishing running back Larry Johnson for using anti-gay slurs.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs have barred running back Larry Johnson from team activities pending an investigation into his use of a homosexual slur this week.

Johnson, a two-time Pro Bowl running back for the Chiefs, apologized Tuesday to his team, fans and the NFL “for the words I used.”

“I regret my actions. The words were used by me in frustration, and they were not appropriate,” he said. “I did not intend to offend anyone, but that is no excuse for what I said.”

This is a victory for the extended LGBT friends and family of major league sports. I am also heartened by the swiftness of the punishment.

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