It’s not often that the Vancouver Canucks find themselves on Buzzfeed. This is a good thing for several reasons. For one thing, it’s in everybody’s best interests that David Booth be kept as far away from all those animals as possible. For another: Buzzfeed’s writers know very little about the Vancouver Canucks.
At least that’s what I infer from a recent Buzzfeed entry titled Could This Straight Hockey Player Be The Face Of Gay Rights In The Sochi Olympics?, in which a gentleman named Logan Rhoades posits, with what appears to be complete sincerity, that Ryan Kesler, yes, Ryan Kesler could lead the gay uprising in Sochi. He could be Russia’s gay Che Guevara — “Ge Chuevara”, if you will.
I’d say this is the most ridiculous and bewildering thing they’ve ever posted, but “The Story Of Egypt’s Revolution In ‘Jurassic Park’ Gifs” is a thing that exists. This one’s a close second.
The Sochi Olympics are a thorny issue right now. Laws banning homosexuality outright as well as homosexual “propaganda” — defined basically as talking about homosexuality, which is a no-no, especially if you have the gall to explain to a minor that he’s not a freak and it gets better — have led to some calling for a boycott of the Games. You Can Play’s Patrick Burke argued, on Buzzfeed, no less, that proudly showing up would be the better option, and some time after that, the Russian sports minister upped the ante by saying the anti-gay laws would be enforced during the Games.
Would Russia actually go so far as to arrest a gay athlete? Maybe. They would be met with an onslaught of outrage, but considering Pussy Riot’s still in prison there and they just granted Edward Snowden a year’s asylum, it’s pretty clear Russia doesn’t care what anyone thinks.
Kesler may, however. What if Russia makes the mistake of taking Buzzfeed seriously, learns they’ve anointed Kesler the face of gay rights, and decides to cut the movement short by imprisoning the Canucks’ centre? While a lot of Vancouverites would probably prefer seeing Kesler behind bars to seeing him back in the red, white and blue, this is not ideal.
Although, ironically, that would make him the face of gay rights.
Rhoades appears to have selected Kesler completely at random (unless, unbeknownst to us, Kesler recently drew the sword from that rainbow-coloured stone, the one with the inscription that reads, “Whoso Pulleth Out This Sword of this Stone and Anvil, is Rightwise the Face of Gay Rights in Sochi.”) There’s very little in the way of reasoning in this article.
The argument itself is all of two paragraphs long and based on a massive leap of logic after reading something on this very blog.
At the crossroad of all this is the Vancouver Canucks’ Ryan Kesler. During the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Michigan native was tied with Patrick Kane for the second most ice time among U.S. forwards, helping Team USA advance to the gold medal game, where he scored a goal. He’s a lock for the 2014 team if he can stay healthy. He also happens to be a vocal supporter of gay rights, having been specifically picked by You Can Play co-founder Patrick Burke to be a part of the campaign.
The reason he was picked is simple: Kesler is straight, he’s macho, and he’s respected by nearly everyone in the league. So when he got behind the You Can Play campaign, it made a difference.
Yes, Kesler did record a PSA in support of You Can Play, but so have hundreds of other hockey players. And yes, he was hand-picked by Patrick Burke, largely because he’s super duper straight, and as Burke told us, “one of the goals behind the initiative is breaking down stereotypes and there’s this idea that if you stand up for gay rights, then you must be gay.”
In other words, being hand-picked doesn’t make Kesler the face of gay rights any more than it makes him the face of Clinique. As Burke adds:
@passittobulis We hand picked everyone.
— Patrick Burke (@BurkieYCP) August 1, 2013
Burke’s statement that Kesler was respected by everyone in the league, a phrase Rhoades repeated, also gets too much play. That was more of a figure of speech. A figure of speech that no one uses.
And as for whether Kesler’s PSA made a notable difference, I’m not sure what that’s based on. It contributed to the movement, sure, but not any more than any other You Can Play PSA.
Frankly, I always got the sense that this photo had a larger impact on the gay community:
Anyway. I’m sure Kesler will be thrilled when his agent tells him Buzzfeed won’t stop calling to ask him if he’ll be their King Leonidas and kick homophobia into a well.
Stick to lists, Buzzfeed. In fact, here’s a list idea: 37 hockey players that are a more appropriate face of gay rights than Ryan Kesler. Hell, cram it full of “Jurassic Park” gifs for all we care.Tags: 2014 Olympics, Ryan Kesler, Ryan Kesler is apparently a gay rights activist