19.4.04

Really, Really....

This is becoming a very...interesting story:

A center for the St. Louis Blues was charged in San Jose, Calif., on Friday in an alleged plot to kill an acquaintance he feared could ruin his career, the FBI said.

Mike Danton, 23, was arrested at Norman Mineta International Airport around 8 a.m. -- hours after his team was knocked out of the NHL playoffs Thursday night by the San Jose Sharks.

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Illinois, Danton told a female friend that a hitman from Canada was coming to kill him and asked the woman if she knew someone who would kill the person for $10,000.


King Kaufman has some commentary on it here; I tend to agree with him when he says,

the description of the relationships involved were so vague and the subject of possible homosexuality was avoided so artfully that I figured there must be something there.

The first article on espn.com read:

The complaint alleges that Danton actually was trying to kill a male acquaintance after an argument Tuesday in which the two fought over Danton's "promiscuity and use of alcohol." The complaint said Danton feared the acquaintance, who is not named, would talk to St. Louis Blues management and ruin Danton's career.

In a telephone call recorded by authorities, the acquaintance asked why Danton wanted to kill him. According to the complaint, Danton broke down and sobbed, and explained that he ordered the killing because he "felt the acquaintance was going to leave him.


The reaction piece also notes:

Danton, formerly known as Mike Jefferson, has been estranged from his family for some time and changed his name to Danton in the summer of 2002.

As Kaufman points out, alcohol use and promiscuity are generally seen as, well, pretty good things in professional athletes. Plus, "afraid he would leave him" and changed his name.

Right. So - the reaction by teammates has been pretty interesting:

"I don't know a tougher guy than him, I don't know a guy that goes in the corner and gets killed and that will drop his gloves with a guy who's 40 pounds heavier in a flash," Weight said. "He's tough as nails.


No higher compliment on the ice, than being tough - and even though this might be a "he can't be gay, he's tough" situation, this could also be a "okay, he's gay, so what, he's tough." Which would be...well, not awful. Hockey clearly has a different culture than, say, football or basketball, though I never would've put my finger on the difference as necessarily connoting "less homophobic."

Kaufman in his piece argues that the reaction, or lack thereof, to the gay aspect of this story, is a good sign. I agree.

However, the bizarre details of this situation may unfortunately further connect gays with being weird, different, unstable, etc. The psychic traumas and pressures that come from a life in the closet - not to mention a family so disapproving that a man feels it necessary to change his name , and a lifetime in a vigorously heterosexual, homophobic profession - are hard to overstate. Let's hope that that is what people end up taking aay from this story, not that, say, gays are psycologically unstable.

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