Lots of action this morning on the website poll off Randy Starkman's story in the petroleum-based product this morning:
Actor Tom Cavanaugh plays a gay ex-Leaf in a comedy film Breakfast With Scot currently being shot in the GTA and Hamilton. He's one-half of a homosexual couple — his partner is the team lawyer — whose lives are turned upside down after becoming guardians of Scot, "a budding queen of an 11-year-old boy," according to the storyline.
RUSS MARTIN PHOTO A hockey coming-out party: Tom Cavanaugh in Breakfast with Scot.
What makes this movie even more unique is that the NHL and the Maple Leafs — part of a sport where no player has ever come out of the closet — have given the filmmakers their blessing to use their logos and uniforms. The Leafs have even agreed to let them do some filming with them at the end of a practice next month.
The question on the poll - Do you think a comedy about a gay Leaf will help gay athletes gain acceptance? - is running nearly two-to-one negative as I write this.
Meantime, there are a host of other questions that come to mind, one of them familiar and long-running: What's holding back an athlete in one of North America's big four pro sports from coming out of the closet? The arguments against usually surround ostracism from teammates, negative marketing and sponshorship impact, fan reaction (perhaps confirmed by the early returns on the poll) and the like. Some have come out after their careers are over, but as of yet, no one active in men's pro baseball, hockey, football or basketball.
The question I have: With the NHL and the Leafs apparently throwing their wholehearted support behind the film - including the use of logos and its practice time -does it necessarily follow that those arguments against don't apply anymore, or at least are lessened? I'd say, yes, they have.