Dallas Morning Show Turns into Shouting Match over Michael Sam's Televised Kiss

Hosts of “The Broadcast,” a morning show from Dallas television station KTXD, probably could have used a referee on Tuesday during a heated argument about football player Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend on ESPN. The Kiss happened when Sam learned he had been drafted by the St. Louis Rams, becoming the first openly gay football player drafted by any NFL team.

Two of the four hosts — Suzie Humphreys and Amy Kushnir — echoed criticism we’ve heard from religious-right groups who were offended by The Kiss. When a fellow host noted that the NFL had moved to penalize a player for mocking Sam and The Kiss on Twitter, Humphreys and Kushnir responded with disgust.

Humphreys even tied the issue into the controversy about recently publicized racial comments by Donald Sterling, owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. The NBA has fined and banned Sterling for life for those offensive comments, which were made during a recorded phone conversation with his girlfriend. Reactions to the Sterling and Sam incidents raise concerns about freedom of speech, Humphreys suggested on The Broadcast:

“I’m shaking my head because people don’t have the right to express the way they feel if it offends somebody else. I live in America. I still feel like I have the right of freedom of speech, and I don’t have to be penalized for my own opinions, especially in my own house, that I have that right as an American.”

Of course, the First Amendment protects free speech from government interference, not from the actions of private employers and business associates. But that distinction appears lost on Humphreys.

Kushnir joined with Humphreys in criticizing ESPN for showing Sam kissing his boyfriend.

“It’s being pushed in faces,” she complained, before storming off the set during the show. “I don’t want to see that.”

Religious-right groups have been pushing pretty much the same message. They haven’t, of course, complained about athletes and others who share celebratory kisses with their opposite-sex spouses/girlfriends/boyfriends on television. Their problem is with the The Gays.

The argument on “The Broadcast” becomes especially heated at about the 8:20 mark in the video clip above. On Wednesday station KTXD released a statement supporting the show’s hosts.

6 thoughts on “Dallas Morning Show Turns into Shouting Match over Michael Sam's Televised Kiss

  1. Maybe this is really a separate issue. Anthropologist here. Kissing is a sign of greeting and affection in different cultures around the world. In some Slavic countries, such as Russia, heterosexuals kiss each other on the side of the face/neck as a sign of greeting. It is a culturally accepted norm. This is common in other countries too.

    It sort of annoys me when Hollywood people do some version of this on entertainment awards shows such as the Academy Awards. Like really. Should Jack Nicholson really take a bite out of Jennifer Lawrence’s ear for all America to see. I really wish he would not. I would not want Jack biting my ear in private or on stage—because Jack is—well—Jack.

    I could have done without the ESPN kiss as well. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Martin Luther King, Jr. and his associates did not dress up in Aunt Jemima outfits or go out to restaurant sit-ins with white bimboe’s in tow. Neither would have helped the movement—and both would have surely hurt it at the time.

    Men and women naked and in the grips of passion in an R-rated movie is something we heterosexuals can all relate to because we have been there in our own bedrooms. Two girls kissing is a turn-on to most guys. I have no idea how women feel about two men kissing. I think it would be fair to say that most heterosexual males view two men kissing as a turn off—and a clear yuch!!! It is not so much a value judgement as it is a feeling that we cannot relate to personally because of who we are as heterosexuals. We get no surge of passion or warm feeling that we can relate to in the context of our own lives. Put another way, it feels kind of like watching someone eat cardboard for breakfast, and many Americans do not endorse any public shows of affection (hetero or LGBT).

    I guess my point is this. While the two people who kissed on ESPN no doubt felt affection between themselves, it was something that most of us out here on the American street have trouble relating to in the context of our own lives, and this sort of thing is not helping the LGBT civil rights cause any more than Aunt Jemima clothing or clinging white bimboes would have helped MLK and his associates. There is a time and place for everything, but that one on ESPN was not one of them.

  2. Tim Tebow should have had a boy-friend to kiss instead of going on one knee and thanking God. Maybe he would have been accepted and praised.

    1. Tebow got accepted and praised regardless in the Christian community. He’s a nice guy who just happens to not have what it takes to be a really good pro football quarterback. Neither do I—and there is no shame in that.