Field Theory by Hadyn Green

Read Post

Field Theory: One in a billion

186 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 8 Newer→ Last

  • Naly D,

    When people who ask me that, I like to deflect. 'Which journalist is gay? Does it affect the way they report? Is Chris Carter a lesser politician?'

    In other words, why the f**k do we care about the sexuality of a high-profile person? At the lower levels of club rugby there still seems to be a fear that gay men would try to do adulterous things to them on the field/in the showers...

    ... But John Hopoate isn't gay [or isn't openly].

    Imagine how much an openly gay All Black could help the AIDS Foundation or Gay NZ, if the organisation/player wanted to. Imagine how they could help to alleviate the perception of social stigmas that say either a. You're gay or b. You play rugby. It'd take a while to get the ball rolling, but it could be very beneficial.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    I agree that an openly gay player who is currently playing would be a good role model etc etc. But I can understand players' fears about coming out even these days.

    As for "Which All Black is gay?" style questions. I find it comes more from folks who don't like rugby and think that it somehow brings the sport down.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Naly D,

    Damn, ran out of time to edit my comment and add this;

    The oft-used defence to appear not to be a sexist, bigoted prick by people I've run into is 'well I don't want to risk getting AIDS'.
    What's to say your hetrosexual team-mate doesn't have the virus? And with the way blood laws work in union, if they're being followed it should be pretty hard to even get a zombie-movie scenario with a droplet in the eye infecting you.

    As a kid who was in love with basketball [and knew little about the world] Magic Johnson's openness about having HIV was a great educator for me about what the disease is.

    Edit: @Hadyn I also understand the difficulties a player would face, but I doubt that they think it's the players who would cause the problems - more John Q Public.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I know of gay and lesbian people playing amateur sport who have well and truly kept their sexuality out of the changing room. They'd be out to their friends, but in the closet to their team. I knew of a female sports team where almost half the team were lesbian, but weren't out to the other half as there was an open homophobe on the team.

    Which is ironic, as some sports are still trying to stamp out 'hazing' and other initiation rituals, which tend to involve homeorotic rituals. The soggy biscuit, the rookie naked runs etc.

    And that's just in the changing room, I'd hate to think of how the rugby or other sport loving public would react.

    I'm not sure if your source on 'percentage of gays' is the best Hadyn. Self-recognition from a phone interview? Some won't know that they're gay/bi, and some won't admit it over the phone.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    I'm not sure if your source on 'percentage of gays' is the best Hadyn. Self-recognition from a phone interview? Some won't know that they're gay/bi, and some won't admit it over the phone.

    I was going to mention that. Get someone to agree to do a phone interview and then answer question about their sex life when their family/friends might be in the same room. Yeah not such a great survey.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I would say that any young gay man coming through the ranks of provincial and professional rugby to get to the All Blacks would have to get through some intense bigotry to get there and remain there.

    Which is probably why this exists. Maybe we can get some coverage of the Bingham Cup next year - named after the gay rugby player who died storming the cockpit on UA Flight 93.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Maybe we can get some coverage of the Bingham Cup next year

    I saw a doco about an Irish rugby team that entered that. The worst scene is when one guy breaks his thigh bone. Sadly it wasn't a great advertisement for gay rugby.

    Before the tournament can start they have to pick broken glass, metal and other junk off the fields. The best player on the team is their coach, who's straight. And there were quite a few shots of the players whinging at the camera about how hard the game was.

    ...I forget what my point was

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • richard,

    I am not sure I understand this argument. If we buy your statistics that roughly 1.5 % of men are gay, and that "gayness" and success at rugby are uncorrelated (in either direction) then at any given time there is a 36% chance that a 30 man All Black squad contains a gay player*

    Put another way, given that there have been something like a 1000 All Blacks over the years, that makes for about 15 gay All Blacks (and a somewhat larger number who have had sex with other men, but are straight. Yes sir, very straight indeed, thanks for asking).

    As you observe, top class rugby is perhaps not the most accepting environment for a young gay man, so it is likely that any rugby playing homosexuals would be closeted.

    But 15 is not an insignificant number, and it is predicated on your assumption that the "actual" proportion of homosexual men in the population is at the 1% level -- change that to 2.5%, and the odds of having a gay man in the squad today are a little better than even.

    (Or put a third way, given a dozen or so serious rugby nations, chances are three or four of their national squads have a gay player amongst them -- or that there are several gay men currently playing first class rugby in New Zealand.)



    * To work this out properly you can't simply multiply 0.015 by 30, but should multiply the probability that any given player is straight 30 times, or

    p(no gay players) = .985^30

    p(at least one gay player) =1-p(no gay players) ~ 0.36

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 268 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    * To work this out properly you can't simply multiply 0.015 by 30, but should multiply the probability that any given player is straight 30 times, or

    p(no gay players) = .985^30
    p(at least one gay player) =1-p(no gay players) ~ 0.36

    Booya!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • richard,

    Actually, there is this too. Not a new idea.

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 268 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    A friend of mine took much whisky once with a very well-known (and late) sports journalist, who told the tale of chancing upon two All Blacks in bed, at a provincial motel. And that was a while ago.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • richard,

    Booya

    A guy who calls his blog "field theory" is basically saying "Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough" to anyone with a penchant for applying mathematics to the real world.

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 268 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Possibly one of the saddest gay athlete stories is this one.

    In his autobiography, Clough recounts a dressing down he gave Fashanu after hearing rumours that he was going to gay bars. "'Where do you go if you want a loaf of bread?' I asked him. 'A baker's, I suppose.' 'Where do you go if you want a leg of lamb?' 'A butcher's.' 'So why do you keep going to that bloody poofs' club?"'

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    As you observe, top class rugby is perhaps not the most accepting environment for a young gay man

    Social rugby would be even less accepting.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    * To work this out properly you can't simply multiply 0.015 by 30, but should multiply the probability that any given player is straight 30 times, or

    p(no gay players) = .985^30
    p(at least one gay player) =1-p(no gay players) ~ 0.36

    Dude, where were you when I was asking for stats help on Twitter (I did pure maths, no stats)

    Doesn't your equation assume that they are selected from a general population and not from a particular group of rugby players? Same goes for the 15 All Blacks in history.

    Also, 64% is still a good bet against. (I know I'm getting my percents and probabilities mixed).

    Personally I think 1.5% is too high, based on survey bias. But we'll stick with it.

    I should've also pointed out that this is for players who identify as gay.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    I thought Thomas was still playing...doesn't he play for one of the French temas now, although I believe he has retired form test footy.

    Also, I was impressed with the integrity of Ian Roberts when he came out some years ago. As one of the biggest-hitting guys in the Aussie NRL he wasn't taking shit from no-one and I don't think he got too much trouble over his revelation.

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    A happy story.

    A young gay friend of mine this year departed Auckland to go and live with his boyfriend. Who is a referee with a provincial rugby union.

    The union's referees section had a social night, wives and partners invited. My young friend came along with his referee boyfriend. Not only did no one bat an eyelid, he got on famously with the ladies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    I’d totally forgotten the reffing angle.

    Not sure if it’s the same person, but arguably NZ’s best ref is gay, and pretty open about it. From what I understand the players couldn’t give a toss because he’s good at what he does.

    So it’s probably easier to be a gay official than a player at the top level? Cricket umpiring is a classic example too. My theory for that would be that you can pick it up post Secondary school when you’re a bit more sure about things.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Not sure if it’s the same person, but arguably NZ’s best ref is gay, and pretty open about it. From what I understand the players couldn’t give a toss because he’s good at what he does.

    And yet the bigots still keep women out of reffing... perhaps you need a penis to cock up a decision

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • JoJo,

    It's such a different situation for women though - at least in my little queer world. My friends and I just assume that every female athlete (from my partner's football team to the top athletes) is gay, until they say otherwise. And in my partner's footie team, the dykes do dominate (so to speak). If any poor homophobe tried to join, she'd learn pretty quickly that she was in a minority of one - and that she was in the wrong, not the queers.

    But for guys? I have heard the rumours about certain top sportsmen, but it's pretty rare for there to be an really easy acceptance of gay men in sports. Except for in the Gay Games or the Outgames, of course, which is a whole 'nother kit 'n' caboodle.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • richard,

    Dude, where were you when I was asking for stats help on Twitter (I did pure maths, no stats)

    Somewhere other than twitter it would seem.

    Doesn't your equation assume that they are selected from a general population and not from a particular group of rugby players?

    Sure. But we have no obvious way of knowing whether or not gay men are more or less likely to play rugby than straight ones. (Indeed, if you were anxious to "prove" your masculinity, an interest in rugby may be just the thing for closeted gay men)

    Same goes for the 15 All Blacks in history.
    Also, 64% is still a good bet against.

    But in five years time there will be a new squad. So sooner or later you will lose that bet. But given the somewhat larger population of first class players in New Zealand (~10 teams, ~25 players per team??) these numbers suggest that a couple of them are likely gay.

    Personally I think 1.5% is too high, based on survey bias. But we'll stick with it.
    I should've also pointed out that this is for players who identify as gay.

    Not sure what you mean by this. Survey bias could push the reported fraction of gay men down down. too. And the issue here is not the number of gay-and-out players (which are easy to count) but the number of gay-and-closested players who, by definition, are pretty hard to count.

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 268 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    A friend of mine took much whisky once with a very well-known (and late) sports journalist, who told the tale of chancing upon two All Blacks in bed, at a provincial motel. And that was a while ago.

    Was one of them a hooker? Jokes.

    On the percent thing...

    There are 14 'professional' teams in the ANZC, with roughly 25 players in each squad giving a total of 350. If we take the 1.5% figure then there would be 4 or 5 gay players in there assuming they were representative (which I don't). personally I think the real number is someway north of 1.5%. Perhaps even as high as 5%. I'm just going by the circle of people I know from all walks of life, colleagues, relatives, friends, acquantiences... and these are the ones who are open about it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Naly D,

    There are 14 'professional' teams in the ANZC, with roughly 25 players in each squad giving a total of 350. If we take the 1.5% figure then there would be 4 or 5 gay players in there assuming they were representative (which I don't). personally I think the real number is someway north of 1.5%. Perhaps even as high as 5%. I'm just going by the circle of people I know from all walks of life, colleagues, relatives, friends, acquantiences... and these are the ones who are open about it.

    So using that logic... There are 32 NFL teams, and they may have a squad of 45 players on game day. So, using 1.5% out of 1,440 NFL players, about 170 are gay? [I apologise for my poor maths]

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    So, using 1.5% out of 1,440 NFL players, about 170 are gay? [I apologise for my poor maths]

    1.5% of 1,440 = about 22.

    That said, making such calculations is a pretty futile exercise. Suffice to say, there are undoubtedly more gay rugby players than just Gareth Thomas.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Naly D,

    1.5% of 1,440 = about 22.

    Fuck!

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 307 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 8 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.