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Is The NFL "Kiss Cam" Offensive? A Gay Jags Fan Tells All

USA Today Sports

Jaguars season ticket holder Dave Uible didn't anticipate making national headlines when he sent an open letter to team owner Shad Khan recently.

Dear Mr. Khan: I would like to voice my concern about the 'Kiss Cam' at the home Jaguar games. I am gay and I have a lot of gay and lesbian friends who are proud Jaguar season ticket holders. I’m not sure you are aware, but there is a video ‘joke’ called the Kiss Cam that plays at the games. Often, the bit goes like this: after showing several happy heterosexual couples kissing in the stands, the camera then pans to two opposing male players who are in close proximity and leaning toward each other -- insinuating that they may do the exact same (and ostensibly wrong) thing and kiss. Hilarious, right? No, and the message is clear. Jaguars are heterosexual and approved. The opponent is ‘gay,’ disapproved and the butt of a crude joke. Really, why is this even at an NFL game? From what I understand, the NFL is now making strides to prevent bullying and homophobia. Mr. Khan, I’m sure you have felt your share of being an ‘other’ in this world and know how offensive it can be. We all go to the games simply to enjoy ourselves and root for our team. Obviously, it’s disheartening to be reminded, by the NFL, that you really aren’t quite as equal as the other season ticket holders. If this were a ‘Muslim Cam’ or a ‘Black Cam’, I'm sure the franchise would have gotten rid of it long ago. It’s time for this not-too-subtle homophobic joke to go too. I am very excited that you are now a part of our city and hope you can help make it--in any way possible--a safer and more welcoming place for all of us. As you know, of the 70 largest cities in this country, Jacksonville is one of only two that still does not ensure equal rights for its gay citizens in employment, housing and accommodation. Surely now that you are at the helm we can ‘stand united’ and all move forward. Maybe our backwards city leaders will even follow your lead. Thank you for looking into this. Here’s to winning lots of games next year! Go Jags. Dave Uible Jacksonville, FL

Among others copied in the letter was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"I've written lots of letters to people about various things, and I never thought this would gain the traction it did," Uible told First Coast Connect this morning. "But now it seems like the NFL is really looking at this topic in a new way."
In fact, as the expectation grows that an active NFL player (or perhaps, several players) may be getting ready to come out, the National Football League and other pro sports franchises are exploring ways to lay the groundwork for such an announcement by speaking with gay advocacy groups.

"I think it's kind of funny that the NFL and the military are ahead of the city of Jacksonville on this," says Uible. "I mean, we couldn't even pass an updated human rights ordinance. But I'm glad to see this discussion happening."

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.