Here's the underlying article, an op-ed by Nicholas Dawidoff, author of "Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football." Researching his book, hanging out with the New York Jets, Dawidoff says that "at times," he "found the atmosphere intensely homophobic." Example, a coach reviewing film of a game might criticize a play by calling it "gay porn." Dawidoff, apparently taking his own word "homophobic" literally, asks "What were these big, strong men so afraid of?"
Dawidoff notes that players and coaches spend lots of time together, much of it in small rooms. "It really is intimate." They like this close association and speak of mutual love. He leaps from that brotherly love to sexual love:
The very nature of football, focused as it is on strength, virility, grace and manly bonding, has an obvious homoerotic component for those who play and for those who watch.The word "obvious" is supposed to keep you from seeing what to me is obvious, that he swapped one kind of love for another. Eros for philia.
Part of the reason homosexuality is anathema in football, the reason gay players hide their sexual identity and fear rumors will keep them from getting drafted, is the worry that the affection could go too far and force the rest of the team to confront something uncomfortable in their bonds.Oh, come on! Who's the homophobe here?! Heterosexual male athletes are afraid that their friendships will feel sexual? That's not my understanding of male heterosexuality. I haven't interviewed every heterosexual male on this subject, but I don't think heterosexual men worry that if they hang around indoors with their male friends long enough, there will be blow jobs.