Why the ISC is doomed (NSFW)

So over the weekend this was displayed during an MLS game:

Could have been any of the league's teams, although I suppose you could make a good guess from the picture which fan base it was.

I can think of a few reasons why this display might be considered controversial.  You may have a problem with homosexuality, for instance.  You may think it's a sin.  Or, perhaps you think that equal rights in this case are special rights.

Let's say you disagreed - violently disagreed - with the thought behind that display.  What would be the best way to express it, do you suppose?

It probably would not be - and this is the Not Safe For Work part - this.  I'll thumbnail it, or try to - if it shows up too big, I apologize:

As it happens, the thumbnail cuts off the caption.  What do you think an appropriate caption would be - I mean, a reasonable caption that expresses disapproval of diversity.

It probably wouldn't be:

...sure came out of the closet Section 8 hahaha no offense haha

However, one fan of one team thought it would be funny.  Hahaha no offense haha.  Literally doesn't matter which team's fans.  Could have been any of the nineteen.

So it turns out people notice this stuff, and word gets around.  Word in fact got around here, probably because Our Fellow Posters knew perfectly well who did it.

Here's one attempt at explanation.  Linking to the thread gives away the team in question, so I won't.  But I have to imagine every poster involved is proud of what they said (I sure as shit am, but we'll get to that), so I don't imagine that the people in question will mind being quoted.

And if they did, so what - they're anonymous Internet handles.  We'll get to that, too.

It was directed towards Sec8 for all their shit talking on MLS trashtalk. that's why the caption says that they came out the closet. Nothing more than alittle shit talking. Like I said if they can take a dick they can take a joke.

Right about this time, as a fan of this team, and as a friend or acquaintance of the person responsible, you have yourself a choice.  Do you choose team loyalty over your beliefs?  Or does ethics trump laundry?

For most fans of the team in question, the answer is "B".  I have lots of evidence of that.  It's not about any particular team.

But what happens when you choose column A?

Nope [to the suggestion that the poster in question be named and shamed], unless you have context on the person's background like a few of us do, then do not freaking opine. He's a great, stand-up guy.

In fairness, by this point I had entered the thread.  I carefully considered both sides of the topic, and felt as a prominent member of the BigSoccer community, it behooved me to address the issue:

You're a homophobe and a bigot. ******** you, and ******** the people defending you.

....you chancres are making your team, your fans, your city, my league and my sport look bad. So put on your best clothes, take yourself out to dinner, slip a roofie in your cocktail and go ******** yourself.

Unless you or one of your friends were sitting on some reasons why it's justified. You'd better come a shitload more correct than "He was insulting our player, I think, maybe," while you're at it. Would you have flipped off Fire fans during the national anthem and said "LOL, patriots"? No. So why this?

But seriously - a bunch of you have gone double-down on what a prince this particular shithead is, and why it was totally within reason. So back it up, or apologize and back off.

Because I didn't insult the [team], or its fans, or you. I said people like the picture taker, and the people defending the picture, were making you look bad. That's gospel, and if you don't see that you have my sympathy.

Shame I can't link to it.  I'm pretty funny when I'm mad.  Yes, I said a lot more, and yes, I stand by every word.

ANYWAY, this was the response from the respected members of the community:

And in case you are unaware by this point, you have the biggest pinko commie on big soccer (is that a fair description, [redacted]), and myself, a civil libertarian who is an active participant in attempts to change legislation on gay marriage and other equal rights issues, calling you an idiot. Get back on the homepage and make fun of Marquez, that's actually funny. Here you're just coming off like a nitwit.

and

I would've been happy to explain his actions had you not gone on here cursing and calling him a bigot. You're right I'm not good at confrontations. I'm way too chill. I do, however, defend my friends if I know they mean no harm. I know the guy and have hung out with him a dozen or so times. Do you know him as well as I do? No. Unless you've shared a room with him then do not call him out. If you want, though, and are ever in [redacted] I'll get you a beer and you can meet him yourself.

and

There are people out there who are simply bigots, and that is unfortunate. They aren't who you are arguing with here. I wasn't giving you a bit of context on who you're arguing with to toot my own horn. I just thought, erroneously, that maybe once you realized you're arguing with people you'd probably be inclined to agree with in a different forum, you'd take a second to think about what you're accusing people of, and make an honest effort to understand what people are saying rather than throwing out childish attacks.

I think the picture itself looks bad, and I wish that it hadn't happened. But I'm not prepared to make the leap to assign motive to the actor, and cast aspersions on his character. I don't know him. And if it is [redacted] whose hand is in the picture, I accept his explanation for why he was flipping off section 8. I still wish he hadn't done it, because thinking about it beforehand would probably make me think, "this could probably be misconstrued and reflect badly on me and my team," but I've done plenty of things in my life that I wouldn't have if I had taken a bit of time to think about how it could be received.

And, in the face of such calm, civil discussion, I naturally replied:

Wow.

What a worthless sack of shit you are.

Sorry, this needs more detail. What a gutless, pathetic, asinine, pretentious pile of shit you are.

I mean...just, wow.

That's your excuse. "Oh, he's my friend, so I'm sure he didn't mean it."

Christ.

Is he even your friend? Or does he just support the same team as you?

Klan loyalty, man. Klan loyalty.

Not to get personal on you all, but this still infuriates me.  The world would literally be a better place without people like this, in my opinion.  Fight for justice everywhere but home.  Civil liberties until it's inconvenient.  If people change, it won't be because of this skim milk, wishy-washy, worthless prattle.  Give me good honest anger any day of the week.  My pal John of Patmos agrees, if Revelation 3:16 is anything to go by.

But there you go.  One fan group says one thing, and another group takes the other side.  Previous convictions do not apply.  I nearly said unthinkingly, but these people put a lot of thought into their horrible, evil views.

"But golly, Dan, you were so MEAN!  How do you expect people to stay true to what they actually believe if you're inconsiderate of people's feelings?  After all, it's a well-known fact that deeply-held, sincere, foundational ethical beliefs don't apply when you're an anonymous handle on the Internet!"

I know.  I have the magical ability to make people sell out their dearest, most cherished beliefs with some insults.

But if only I had been polite.  We would all have had a good laugh about this.  I'd have seen their clear and obvious reasoning.  Why, I might even be looking forward to having a beer with the person who made that picture, and all of his friends.

The very thought fills me with rage and nausea.  I can get my own god-damned beer, thank you very much.  And in a vermin-free environment.

So is this why the Independent Supporters Council is dead on arrival?  I think so.  Not every fan is going to choose their team over their beliefs, thankfully.  If I thought so, this would be a different and more specific post.  But you know in your heart every team has fans who think like this - who'll put a misguided, appalling, sickening definition of "friendship" as a justification of ...how did I put it?  Oh, yes - klan loyalty.

Just because someone dresses like you, doesn't mean they're good.  It doesn't even really mean they're on your side.  But comparing colors is so much easier than thinking.  Especially in the anonymity and safety of a crowd.  Which is literally every MLS team.

This isn't that Burke cliche about good men doing nothing.  These are people who think they are good going way, way out of their way to justify evil.  There's no hope for them, and they deserve no sympathy.

But they're in your fan base.  They're in your supporters group.  As long as any issue can be broken down between a perceived argument between teams, people will choose accordingly.  And nothing will be done.

A couple of years ago I had occasion to write about Hillsborough - we had another anniversary recently - and the reactions could fairly reliably be classified in two ways.  A troublingly large portion was informed by, for want of a better term, "Screw Liverpool."  Because it was Liverpool, nothing was too bad for their fans.  They deserved it.  They brought it on themselves.  They had it coming.

Facts - and there are a bunch of them on that topic - meant considerably less than nothing to that school of thought.  It was all about the tribe.

And there's nothing special about Liverpool here.  It easily could have been Spurs or Manchester United or literally any club of any size in England.  And if it had been, Manchester United fans (again, I pick only at random) would no sooner have blamed fans for Hillsborough than for Munich.  But, the fans lived forty miles away or whatever, so that meant it was totally, totally different.

Hopefully we never have a stadium tragedy here.  But if there's one among MLS fans at an MLS stadium, I can comfortably predict that within three to five years, probably 25% of people on an Internet message board will blame that fanbase.

So what's the solution?  Leave politics of all kinds out of MLS and soccer entirely?

Maybe that will work.  Like I said, I'm cheerfully ignorant of the escaped Nazi war criminals in my supporters group, because politics is ruthlessly suppressed.  But the bubble will only last so long - because the homophobia issue is not going away.

If only someone could come up with a solution to cure homophobia in sports.  Well, thank God I'm here to help you.

First of all, let's look at how this is different from Jackie Robinson integrating baseball - another recent anniversary.

There was no earthly reason Jackie had to do it alone, by the way.  There were easily a dozen players that could have been instant stars in "organized baseball."  Jackie was a great choice, but making him do it alone - making him bear the pressure of the entire god-damned American soul - it killed him.  Someone should have been there to help him.  The Dodgers  took a chance, I guess, but two black players wouldn't have meant twice the controversy.  Or another player on one of the other fifteen teams, apart from the fits and starts we got.

Sorry, hobby-horse of mine.  But it's relevant here.  We haven't had Jackie Robinson of gay players yet...except we have.  We just don't know it.

You, my friend, have cheered for gay and bisexual players.  (Probably not transsexual players, but yaneverknow.)  If that person you cheered for came out...would you feel differently?  You really shouldn't.

Ah, but what if that son of a bitch on the Enemy team came out?

I'm sure you wouldn't say anything, because you're delightful.  What about the guy next to you? Yes, I'm sure you'd say something if he said something that was hateful.

Except, hm, he's awfully big and drunk, and you know what, he's really a great guy when he's sober.  And so are all his friends.

Well, you'll read about it the next day or two, and someone will insult Your Friend - and I just lived through what happens when you try to shine a light on insects.

But what if two players came out?

What if every player in MLS came out?  Retired and active?

"Maybe David Testo is the only one."  Sure, whatevs.

"People will think soccer is gay."

Well, that's part of the problem right there.  But I have a solution to that, too.  Basketball, football, baseball, hockey, even NASCAR.  What if every gay player in every sport came out on the same day?

Who would you boo?  Hell, who would you cheer?  It wouldn't even be controversial.  It would defeat all the tribalism, all the short-sightedness, all the excuses.  There would be strength in numbers, something poor Jackie Robinson never had.

But one person can't do it.  Other fans would boo, and insist that they were tolerant liberals afterward.  It can absolutely be done, but it's up to the players.

Because fans are useless.

(At least, when it comes to cross-team loyalty.  Liverpool fans have done great work for the Hillsborough survivors, but - well, it seems crass to suggest that they wouldn't have done the same for Manchester United or Leeds, so I'll leave it at that.)

(EDIT - and I get the initials of ISC wrong in the freaking title.  No wonder people think I'm an asshole.)