Deadspin writer botches clarification on Jim Miller; still believes ex-QB is anti-gay

Deadspin can’t be fair even when it is trying to be fair.

Essentially, Barry Petchesky apologized Thursday to Jim Miller for a post that labeled the former Chicago Bears quarterback as being anti-gay. And then in the next breath, Petchesky said, yeah, but I still think he’s anti-gay.

To back up a bit, yesterday I did a post slamming Deadspin and Petchesky for doing wrong by Miller. Appearing on WSCR-AM 670 in Chicago Tuesday, Miller talked about how factions of an NFL team will have a hard time accepting a gay teammate. The discussion was about the culture of the locker room with Miller speaking from his vast experience.

I heard the segment which included this key point.

Asked his stance on whether gays should be accepted, Miller said, “I could care less. You can play football or you can’t. I’m just giving you my point of view that certain factions of a locker room will not accept it. … That’s the reality of the situation.

Petchesky then did a post for Deadspin that had this headline: “Who’s The Latest Person To Say Dumb Things About Gay Players In The NFL?”

Deadspin also sent out this tweet to its 368,000 followers:

Former Bears QB Jim Miller has opinions on gay players in the NFL. Spoiler: He’s not a fan.

As a result, Miller got ripped for his supposed anti-gay views. Totally unfair. But then when is Deadspin about being fair?

Petchesky did try to clarify things Thursday. In its Funbag column, a reader asked: “When are you going to issue a correction/apology on the Jim Miller story?”

Petchesky began:

I feel terrible that the takeaway seems to be “Jim Miller’s a bigot,” even though I included his full remarks in there. Given the chance, I’d write it differently.

OK, nice to admit you made a mistake, Barry. Only he didn’t. Here’s the next sentence:

Regarding Miller, I took a leap as to his personal beliefs that I shouldn’t have, even though I still think it’s a safe bet (When asked if gays should be accepted, Miller said “I could care less,” which is pointedly not a yes.)

Wait a minute, Barry. You just called Miller a bigot. You still think he’s anti-gay.

Here’s what “I could care less” means. Miller was saying “I could care less” about a player’s sexuality.

If somebody asked me how I felt about working with a gay person in the newsroom, I likely would say, “I could care less.” A person’s sexuality doesn’t matter to me.

Petchesky might phrase it the same way, as would millions of others. Does that make us anti-gay?

If you heard the discussion, and if you know Miller, one of the good guys who has made the transition to broadcasting in Chicago and for SiriusXM NFL Radio, you know he is not anti-gay.

Yet thanks to Deadspin, countless people now think Miller is a bigot.

Petchesky went on to stand by his argument regarding what Miller said about the culture in the locker room. It’s all there if you want to read it.

Frankly, Petchesky blew any credibility in my eyes. If I were him, I would do a clarification on his clarification. Sometimes, it takes three attempts to get it right.



5 thoughts on “Deadspin writer botches clarification on Jim Miller; still believes ex-QB is anti-gay

  1. Here are the rest of Miller’s comments, if anyone reading this thinks (as I did, initially) that there might be something to the Petchesky criticism:

    “Last time I checked, whether it’s Christianity or Muslims or other religions that are out there, they’re just not going to accept it. They’re just not. It’s just not realistic for Mike Florio or any progressive or liberal to think that everything is going to be OK in the locker room and we should all just wise up and accept it.”

    That’s Jim Miller saying no religious person would accept a gay teammate, using “progressive” and “liberal” as derogatory terms, and implicating himself as decidedly religious, un-progressive and intolerant.

    A more helpful dissection of Jim Miller’s supposedly “good guy” and “not anti-gay” mentality would be some quotes on those topics. If you’ve got them, Ed.

    • Thanks for weighing in. I know what you’re saying and perhaps Miller could have used a better choice of words. However, what he said is way within the realm of possibility. There will be factions in the locker room that will have trouble with it.

      To label Miller as being anti-gay simply is wrong. He was talking about culture of the locker room.

      • Thanks for publishing my comment.

        This part, though, does not at all jibe with your interpretation:

        “It’s just not realistic for Mike Florio or any progressive or liberal to think that everything is going to be OK in the locker room and we should all just wise up and accept it.”

        He may be talking about the locker room, but he’s talking about it in a way that tangentially involves him. He’s saying how religious, non-liberals would handle gay teammates, and clearly considers himself as part of that group.

        You appealed to common sense in your post, so I will, too. If it were me answering a question about homosexuality, I certainly wouldn’t say “Well, lots of people don’t accept gays. Many of them share my profession and political views. Liberals don’t seem to understand us.”

        And it may have sounded snarky, but I meant what I said. I don’t know Jim Miller. I don’t listen to him on XM radio. What does he say there on this topic? Deadspin isn’t the only outlet apparently not privy to his “good guy” pro-gay attitude, you know.

        • Just to clarify a point. In the same interview Jim also said he’d probably only been to church 5 times in his life – all weddings. So no, I don’t think he was including himself when discuss that religious view.

          In fact, several times in the interview he referenced the strong religious core within the locker room. At no point did it sound like he was part of it – the opposite in fact.

  2. Jim MIller’s comments seem pretty clear to any reasonable person. He doesn’t care if someone is gay as long as they can play football. Sounds similar to remarks made by many army veterans. But he pointed out, there are some football players who won’t accept a gay teammate. Now, how is that not the absolute truth? Anyone who has played sports, or perhaps even covered sports, would know that is accurate. I can tell you for certain, most athletes I know, including those who I have coached would not be very receptive to having a gay teammate. Of all the teams I have played on or coached, no athlete has ever raised their hand in the locker room and said, “Hey fellows, I’m gay.” They most likely wouldn’t say anything? And if Barry Petchesky had ever spent any time in a locker room, he would know that the environment is the exact opposite of the political-correctness that he is requesting here.

    So from reading all of the above, the questions are: Is Barry Petchesky ultra-sensitive to the “gay” issue? Or, is he attached to some community activist group and providing a voice for them? Or is he just trying to use the gay issue to pull in readers? Either way, Jim Miller shouldn’t be used to advance whatever agenda Petchesky has here.

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