The NBA aired a 30-second public service announcement last week featuring NBA Phoenix Suns player Grant Hill and Jared Dudley encouraging young people to stop using the word "gay" to mean "dumb or stupid." The commercial is also part of the "Think B4 You Speak" campaign sponsored by the NBA, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network and the Ad Council.
I must say that I was pretty surprised by this PSA - it kind of came out nowhere. But, I suppose with the whole Kobe Bryant "gay slur" looming over the NBA, this PSA may have some relevance. And, two days after the PSA's release on Friday, Rick Welts, president and CEO of the Phoenix Suns, announced that he is gay.
The NBA executive said he wanted to illuminate the shrouded subject of homosexuality in men's team sports, according to the New York Times.
"This is one of the last industries where the subject is off limits," Welts told the Times.
Now it all makes sense.
The NBA does get major kudos for employing an African-American spokesman, Hill, to speak out against this colloquial homophobic word that's constantly used in the Black community.
Unfortunately, the viewer response to the ad were not so friendly. Immediately after the ad aired, Hill's Twitter feed was inundated with anti-gay postings, several from blacks, calling him a "fag" and an "Uncle Tom" and complaining that the PSA itself was "gay." I applaud Hill for reposting the homophobic tweets to demonstrate just why the campaign was necessary in the first place.