Is Brendan Haywood Really Worried About Starbury's Sexuality or Something Else?

The ↵weirdest part about all those Brendan Haywood/Etan Thomas feuds in the ↵Washington locker room? While Thomas's outspokenness is well, if not ↵over, documented, Haywood too is not afraid to speak his mind about ↵issues around the league. With Etan exiled to OKC, Brendan's left to ↵pick the slack. ↵
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↵And boy, has he ever. Speaking to Hardcore Sports Radio (transcribed by Sports Radio Interviews), Haywood just let it all loose on the subject of Marbury's you-know-what and the Twitter craze: ↵
↵⇥“At first it was cool, but after a while it just became disturbing. He’s on YouTube crying with no shirt on for no reason, ↵⇥sweating while his boy’s rubbing his shoulders. What’s that about? ↵⇥That’s like gay porn. I don’t understand it. He’s dancing to a song ↵⇥called ‘Barbie Doll’, doing like stripper moves. I have no idea what’s ↵⇥going on with the guy, it’s almost like he’s trying to end his own ↵⇥career. There’s not a GM out there that would touch Marbury right now… ↵⇥Have you seen the ‘Barbie Doll’ clip? Click on YouTube and go to Barbie ↵⇥Doll. There’s no way any other professional athletes would wanna get ↵⇥dressed around this guy, because you gotta think something is a little, ↵⇥he’s swinging from both sides of the fence.” ↵
↵The key progression there? "At first it was cool . . . ↵after a while it just became disturbing . . . he's swinging from both ↵sides of the fence." So Haywood is for absolute transparency, until the ↵guy starts showing off the deepest recesses of his soul, and once ↵that's crossed, it's time to retreat to old jock standbys like ↵homophobia. Or at least hurtful stereotypes, and the "no team wants a ↵gay in the locker room" sleeping giant. It's like Haywood likes the ↵idea in principle, just not when someone like Marbury actually ends up ↵having some real weirdness to show off. ↵
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↵And ↵herein might lie the fundamental Twitter/new media paradox for ↵athletes. Be yourself, but not the part we won't approve of, or any ↵part we don't expect. Elsewhere in the interview, Haywood turns his ↵nose up at Kevin Love's Twitter-tale-ing. Like dude, what are you ↵doing? Play your position and stop acting like some kind of crusader ↵for the free flow of information or enhanced access to the NBA ↵experience. That's a lot deeper than this is supposed to go! ↵
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↵Not that I think Haywood's really mature comments on Marbury tell ↵us anything about Steph's sexuality (sidenote: wasn't Dennis Rodman admittedly bi ↵when he was winning rings?). But if someone were to be outted by name, ↵or blind item-ed, couldn't it come from a spiteful or frightened ↵teammate? Twitter does have the potential to, however intermittently, ↵turn into a source of prime NBA gossip. Or at least, for Haywood, ↵looking at what's happened to Marbury, why wouldn't these fears be ↵brewing? That Haywood's more worried about others' sexuality than his ↵own doesn't mask the fact that this level of exposure loosens the reins ↵of control in a way that might scare some players. ↵
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↵What if an unhinged Marbury starts dishing dirt on others? What if ↵he outs someone? What if someone had blithely outted the "gay" (or just ↵plain nuts) Marbury before this? For all the eagerness NBA stars have ↵shown to share themselves with the world—perhaps to correct the thug ↵stereotypes and post-Jordan blandness that have both worked to make the ↵league interesting—there's a hell of a lot going on that's yet to get ↵out. But it could, if there's not someone helping these guys manage ↵their message. That, and not confusion over Marbury's supposedly "gay" ↵behavior, might be the anxiety at the root of Haywood's rant.
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↵For more NBA coverage, visit SportingNews.com's new NBA blog, The Baseline.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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