MONTREAL, QC. — No one on Twitter, to my knowledge, ever blocked me until yesterday, when I was blocked by an Emmy-winning actor.
I haven’t been blocked by sports agent Allan Walsh, or “journalist” Damien Cox, or any of the other personalities in the sports world who are quick to silence the opinions that don’t please them. But I was blocked by Eric Stonestreet from the TV comedy Modern Family. Which is oddly appropriate, considering that I was a TV fan for years before hockey came into my life.
Mr. Stonestreet was a presenter at this year’s NHL Awards, invited presumably because he attended some of the Los Angeles Kings’ playoff games this year. (No word on how many games he attended before this year’s Stanley Cup underdog story.) He worked steadily as an actor until he got his breakout role in 2009, as Cameron, an exuberant gay ex-clown, on Modern Family. The show is great. I started following him on Twitter because I like his work, and I thought it was cool that he supported the Kings during their Stanley Cup run. I most certainly did not like this, that he tweeted yesterday:
I won’t judge his questionable use of grammar or punctuation, because that’s not the issue here. The issue is that, in an attempt to make a joke or something, he basically implied that women don’t actually like sports. That they’re just pretending.
Now, I will gladly admit that I’ve met some women who claim to be sports fans, but might not actually be. I’ve met a couple of men who are like that, too. I also know tons of women who are not lying when they say they like sports. I’ll gladly admit that I am not the most die-hard Canadiens fan you’ll ever meet. I missed a handful of games this season, and I didn’t wake up every morning and read the sports section of the newspaper before leaving for work. But there are women out there of all ages who are hardcore, and who don’t miss a game, a news story, a stat, or a highlight reel. And yet women are all painted with the same brush. Didn’t we just go through this with CBC and the “While The Men Watch” controversy? Maybe Mr. Stonestreet didn’t know about that because it happened before the Cup Finals.
In any case, I waited for an explanation. Hoping he’d say he was at a sports bar and some girl was obviously there for free drinks or male attention, saying she was a really big fan of “Kobe Brian” or something.
But that explanation never came.
I figured this was one of either two things: Either he didn’t want to backtrack after he realized that an ill-conceived joke fell flat, or he just didn’t get it. Now, he is a very funny man both on TV and in real life. I went to a Modern Family panel at a television festival in 2010, a few months before Mr. Stonestreet won his Emmy, and he nearly tore the house down just by getting into character and showing off his “Cameron walk.” His Twitter feed has never really matched that kind of hilarity.
Another part of me thinks he just doesn’t get it. A lot of people, especially sports fans, have a somewhat limited idea of what’s masculine and what’s feminine, and never the twain shall meet. A lot of Modern Family viewers have assumed that Mr. Stonestreet is gay, because he plays such a “flamboyant” character on TV. So he has trouble sometimes proving that he’s heterosexual. I guess growing facial hair during his hiatus and being a vocal sports fan help to imply that he isn’t like his character, so to speak. So, like a “real man,” he watches sports and says what he wants and doesn’t apologize for it. Well, two can play that game.
That was a bit of a below-the-belt hit, but it’s the kind of thing fans have said to people who diss their favourite players, and the kind of thing male sports fans have said to women. It’s not the kind of thing I normally say, because I try to be as diplomatic as I can, but I guess one ignorant comment begets another.
And then I guess he blocked me (along with a few other women who didn’t think his joke was so funny.) Which is both a shame and kind of hilarious when you think about it. But we probably have nothing more to say to each other. There will be more hockey games, and there will be more laughs Wednesday nights on ABC, and there’s a pretty good chance both he and I will be watching them. I just won’t know what he has to say about them.
Category: Fan Focus