And so it begins. John Amaechi announced today that HeadBlade, a company that specializes in products for head-shaving men, has made him a spokesman.
This is a step down the right path, a path paved by out sports celebrities, some of whom were stripped of their endorsement deals after coming out (ala Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova), or who have likely suffered a reduced endorsement purse because of being out (ala Amelie Mauresmo); and by those who came out after their careers were over, often citing how the homophobia in the locker rooms kept them in the closet (Greg Louganis, Billy Bean, etc.).
Let’s hope he doesnt’ go the way of Esera Tuaolo, who — while he made great move by coming out in 2003 — made a horrible move by trying to establish Chili’s in the gay culinary landscape. (Really? Chili’s? What was he thinking?)
He might get flack for coming out *after* he was finished with his career, and had already amassed his millions. I don’t blame him for it. At the end of the day, you still need to feed yourself, put a roof over your head. He’s still moving us forward. So many people spoke against how Tim Hardaway handled John’s statements. I don’t care if they disagree with what he said or how he said it. Regardless, people are siding against him. In the end, the message was: gays are alright (or, if you don’t think they are, you just shut your trap and let them be).
We have a ways to go, but I am hopeful for his strategy. I hope that he can soften the hearts of mainstream America. He will convince straight men everywhere to shower side-by-side with their gay teammates in the locker rooms. He’s very eloquent, a good ambassador. And as far as making the most of his endorsement power, he picked a good product. Enough of us shave our heads on a regular basis.