9-Time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard Tells Fox Sports “I’m Not Gay”

In an interview with Fox Sports, NBA star Dwight Howard directly addresses allegations whether he is gay and how a slew of rumors begun in the fall of 2018 impacted his life.
9-time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard

In an interview with Fox Sports, NBA star Dwight Howard directly addresses allegations whether he is gay and how a slew of rumors begun in the fall of 2018 impacted his life.

Speaking to reporter Kristine Leahy, Howard says in simple language, “I’m not gay.”

“It’s a lot of people who are [gay], and they have to hide,” he said.

Howard, who is currently on the Memphis Grizzlies roster, says the experience of gay rumors swirling around him gave him a new perspective in how he views gay athletes.

“I went through a situation last year that really just set me free,” he tells Leahy. “It ended up being a situation that…went viral.”

“People were talking about it, and it upset me because I didn’t even know who the person was,” he continued. “Why would somebody who I never met, never had any contact with, make up a whole story about me?”

Howard described the reaction from people as “hate, pure hate,” and that it felt like it “piled up” everywhere he went.

“I think that liberated me,” shared the 33-year-old athlete. “Because I saw how a lot of people would feel, whether they’re gay or they’re straight; whether they have issues; people are afraid to be who they are.”

“They’re afraid to just step out and be because they’re afraid of what other people might say or think about them,” said Howard. “That situation made me realize ‘You’re not like this, but just be you, be free.’”

The issue began last November with a series of tweets by a gay man named Masin Elije, who claimed he had been having a ‘relationship’ with Howard.

Elije says he met the NBA player at a Wild N Out event, and were soon chatting in direct messages on Instagram.

Describing Howard as “fine, 6’11”, goofy and very charming,” Elije alleged the two men began exchanging nude photos and developed some kind of relationship.

Elije went on to tweet that Howard had ‘cheated’ on him with a ‘transgender prostitute.’ Eventually, Elije accused Howard of physically threatening him if he didn’t sign a non-disclosure agreement.

After Elije filed a lawsuit against Howard in March, the 9-time All-Star denied all of the allegations by Elije to TMZ saying, “I don’t know this person, never seen him. Any allegation said about me is false.”

Howard filed a counter-suit against Elije asking for $10 million in damages, and described Elije’s lawsuit as a “money grab.”

The website ClutchPoints.com reported in November they had found at least two previous claims by Elije that were proven to be false.

San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich: Unless Race Is Talked About, It’s Not Going To Get Better

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich

During a press conference yesterday, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich shared his thoughts on the current #TakeAKnee protests by professional athletes regarding injustices and treatment of black Americans.

Popovich told the press, in part, “There has to be an uncomfortable element in the discourse for anything to change.”

Obviously, you know, race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that. Unless it is talked about constantly, it’s not going to get better. People get bored. ‘Oh, is it that again. They pulled the race card again. Why do we have to talk about that?’

Well, because it’s uncomfortable. There has to be an uncomfortable element in the discourse for anything to change. You know, whether it’s the LGBT movement, or women’s suffrage, race – it doesn’t matter.

People have to be made to feel uncomfortable, and especially white people, because we’re comfortable. We still have no clue what being born white means. And, if you read some of the recent literature, you realize there really is no such thing as whiteness. We kind of made it up. That’s not my original thought, but it’s true.

It’s hard to sit down and decide that, yes, it’s like you’re at the 50-meter mark in a 100-meter dash. You’ve got that kind of a lead, yes, because you were born white. You have advantages that are systemically, culturally, psychologically there. And they’ve been built up and cemented for hundreds of years.

But many people can’t look at it. It’s too difficult. It can’t be something that’s on their plate on a daily basis. People want to hold their position, people want their status quo, people don’t want to give that up. And until it’s given up, it’s not going to be fixed.

Watch those remarks below, and you can see the full 21-minute speech here.

NBA Announces New Orleans Will Host 2017 All-Star Game

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory

The NBA has announced that the 2017 All-Star Game will be held in New Orleans after moving the event from Charlotte, North Carolina, in the aftermath of that state’s discriminatory, anti-LGBT legislation known as HB2.

Via the AP:

New Orleans, announced Friday as the new location of the game, replaces Charlotte, which was set to host the game until the NBA decided last month to move it elsewhere.

Unlike several other Southern states, Louisiana has not been swept up in legislative efforts to pass laws similar to that in North Carolina — a fact Gov. John Bel Edwards has touted while lobbying the NBA to bring its All-Star weekend to New Orleans.

“We embrace our rich cultural heritage and see our diversity as a virtue,” Edwards wrote in a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in late July. “Should the NBA choose to bring the All-Star Game back to New Orleans in 2017, it will strongly reaffirm its commitment to communities that value fairness and inclusion.”

The Human Rights Campaign responds:

“By moving the 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans, the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver have sent a clear message to lawmakers in North Carolina and across the country that discrimination against LGBTQ people has consequences and will not be tolerated,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.

“New Orleans’ explicit LGBTQ non-discrimination protections will ensure all NBA employees, players, and fans who participate in the All-Star Game are protected from discrimination.

“Governor Pat McCrory and state lawmakers should use this as an opportunity to halt their assault on the people, reputation, and economy of North Carolina, and work toward replacing HB2 with commonsense non-discrimination protections. We look forward to the day when all North Carolinians can live their lives free from discrimination, and Charlotte is able to welcome back the All-Star Game.”

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory continues to claim HB2 has had no economic impact on his state even as dozens of conventions and events have pulled out of North Carolina over the divisive legislation costing the state untold millions of dollars.

McCrory currently trails his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Roy Cooper by 7 points in the latest NBC News poll.

How The Golden State Warriors President Helped Move The 2017 All-Stars Game From North Carolina

Golden State Warriors President and COO Rick Welts

According to USA Today, one of the major turning points for the NBA’s decision to move the 2017 All-Star game from North Carolina came two weeks ago at a Las Vegas meeting of high-ranking league execs.

USA Today reports:

In a poignant address, Golden State Warriors president and chief operating officer Rick Welts, 63, who is openly gay, explained his meaningful and lifelong affiliation with the NBA and told league owners he didn’t feel comfortable attending the All-Star Game in Charlotte if the law remained as is.

His words weren’t emotional, and they weren’t delivered as a threat. But Welts, who was instrumental in shaping All-Star weekend into the big-time event it is today, didn’t plan on attending if the North Carolina law wasn’t repealed or changed.

Following the meeting, a few owners talked, and a prevailing message emerged: If Rick Welts doesn’t feel comfortable coming to the All-Star Game, the decision to relocate just got easier.

They probably didn’t know it at the time, but this was clearly an “It Gets Better” moment. One more example of how our visibility and honest self-expression lead to positive change.

Here’s a little more about Welts.

(h/t JMG)

NBA Announces No 2017 All-Star Game For North Carolina Due To Anti-LGBT Law HB2

Yahoo Sports’ The Vertical is reporting that the NBA will soon announce that the 2017 All-Stars game will be pulled from North Carolina over it’s hateful anti-LGBT legislation, HB2.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver had threatened to move All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte unless a discriminatory North Carolina law aimed at the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community was changed – and time to do so has run out because of the logistics and planning the NBA needs to run its marquee midseason event, league sources said.

The issue is centered on North Carolina’s House Bill 2, a law that mandates transgender people use public restrooms corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificates. The law also omits LGBT people from North Carolina’s anti-discrimination protections, forbids local governments from widening LGBT protections and excludes all forms of workplace discrimination lawsuits from North Carolina state courts.

New Orleans, which last hosted an All-Star game in 2014, now looks to be the leading contender to host the event.

Here’s the official notice from the NBA:

The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019. Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change. We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view.

Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community – current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans. While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2.

We are particularly mindful of the impact of this decision on our fans in North Carolina, who are among the most passionate in our league. It is also important to stress that the City of Charlotte and the Hornets organization have sought to provide an inclusive environment and that the Hornets will continue to ensure that all patrons – including members of the LGBT community – feel welcome while attending games and events in their arena.

We look forward to re-starting plans for our All-Star festivities in Charlotte for 2019 provided there is an appropriate resolution to this matter. The NBA will make an announcement on the new location of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in the coming weeks.

The Human Rights Campaign chimes in with praise:

Today the NBA and Commissioner Silver sent a clear message that they won’t stand for discrimination against LGBTQ employees, players or fans.

The NBA repeatedly warned state lawmakers that their hateful HB2 law created an inhospitable environment for their 2017 All-Star Game and other events.

Nevertheless, Governor McCrory, Senator Berger and Speaker Moore doubled down on HB2 and refused to undo their discriminatory and costly error in judgment.

Every day that HB2 remains on the books, people across North Carolina are at risk of real harm.

We appreciate the leadership of the NBA in standing up for equality and call once again on lawmakers to repeal this vile HB2 law.

GLSEN Partners With NBA For Pride T-Shirts

In celebration of LGBT Pride Month, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) announced a new collaboration between the NBA, GLSEN, and Teespring.

Beginning on June 7, fans can purchase an exclusive line of Teespring NBA Pride T-shirts featuring the logos of all 30 NBA teams, with all proceeds benefiting GLSEN.

From GLSEN’s Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard:

“Support from professional sports for LGBT people has been one of the biggest cultural developments of the past five years, and the NBA has consistently led the way. Thank you, NBA and Teespring, for this generous support, and for standing with your LGBT fans, LGBT youth, and GLSEN with these Pride-themed shirts.

For LGBT fans and players alike, visibility and inclusion in the family of sports remains a key goal. The entire GLSEN family is proud of our longstanding partnership with the NBA, and excited about all of the work we are doing together to make K-12 physical education and athletics – and all of K-12 education – more inclusive and welcoming of LGBT students.”

NBA To North Carolina: Change Anti-LGBT Hate Law Or We Move 2017 All-Star Game

More bad news for North Carolina in the aftermath of the state’s anti-LGBT legislation, HB2.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday that the hate law remains “problematic” for the league, and if the law is unchanged by next year, the currently scheduled All-Star game will have to be moved to a new location outside of North Carolina.

From the Charlotte Observer:

Silver’s comments on the state’s controversial House Bill 2 came at the Associated Press Sports Editors’ commissioner meetings Thursday, according to attendees.

Earlier in the day, Silver again called the law “problematic” for the league as it stands, but he said he’s confident state lawmakers will “do the right thing.”

“We’ve been, I think, crystal clear a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event,” Silver said at the APSE event.

And speaking on ESPN’s Mike & Mike morning radio show, Silver said the NBA is more interested in working with local businesses and governments to effect change in the law, rather than in setting ultimatums about the 2017 All-Star Game, which is to take place in Charlotte.

News Round-Up: April 15, 2016

Some news stories you may have missed:

• Pharmacist, model and underwear designer Todd Sanfield talks on (and models) his new collection

• Hillary Clinton to meet with HIV/AIDS activists on May 13th

• The mayor of Washington, D.C. calls for a vote to grant statehood to the nation’s capital

• Cirque du Soleil joins the list of cancelled performances in North Carolina cities over anti-LGBT law HB2

• The NBA says that while North Carolina’s HB2 is “problematic,” they won’t be moving next year’s scheduled All-Star game because that would be “grandstanding.”

• Sen. Ted Cruz attacks Donald Trump for former praise of New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio