I’m really at war with myself over this. Canis Hoopus asks about how we fans feel when our favorite athletes support political causes we vehemently disagree with.
A few days ago, I got an email from a friend who was outraged Timberwolves forward Mark Madsen had given $2,500 to Proposition 8, which successfully outlawed gay marriage in California. She wondered if the contribution was newsworthy.
I’m a passionate supporter of gay marriage, viewing its legalization as a matter of fundamental fairness. (Thus, my pejorative headline.) And yet, Madsen is a truly decent guy, one of the best people I’ve ever met who’s also an athlete.
He’s also a sincerely generous and tireless community volunteer, and a respectful and thoughtful interview subject — especially when the subject is his Mormon faith, which was probably a factor in the donation. (The Mormon Church urged his members to give to the cause.)
I admitted I was conflicted about bringing possible bad publicity about a guy I like. (Disclaimer: I do some freelance writing for the Wolves, but am pretty sure I’d regard Madsen the same way regardless.)
Perhaps seeking an escape hatch, I asked my friend if we really need to know/care about an athlete’s politics off the court. Her response was:
As a NBA star and citizen, he, of course, has the right to contribute and affiliate with any cause. But I also think prominent people who fund propositions to take away the civil rights of other people to marry and have families should be publicly acknowledged.
Since the news is out and will undoubtedly spread, I thought I’d open it up for your thoughts. I’m still conflicted, and kinda wish I didn’t know, even though I’m screwing that up for you.