The ‘Kiss Cam’ is an extremely common gimmick franchises across all four major American sports utilize during home games. Of course, the idea is modified at each stadium or venue, but the idea is the same: A camera pans across the fans’ seats, settling upon a couple. The rest of the stadium watches the couple on the giant Jumbotron, generally with a heart pattern around their faces on the screen, as the two put on the spot embarrassingly debate whether or not to kiss, or just how big they should make their kiss.
Sometimes, it is ended by putting two men on the Jumbotron who will not kiss. Most of the stadium has a laugh, but a growing contingent does not.
The culture of laughing at the fact that two guys wouldn’t dare kiss at a sporting event has a number of gay fans beginning to cry foul. Jacksonville Jaguars fan Dave Uible has become the voice of this group with a letter to team owner Shahid Khan.
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 accomodation. 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!
Roger Goodell, NFL Commisioner
Robert Gulliver, NFL Human Resources
Troy Vincent, NFL Senior VP Player Engagement
Domonique Foxworth, President NFL Players Union
Alvin Brown, Mayor of Jacksonville
Bill Bishop, President Jacksonville City Council
We are not going to get into politics here. Some may say something along the lines of ‘this is just another example of American society becoming too sensitive’. Others, like Uible, are still waiting to feel 100-percent welcomed at mainstream cultural events.
Uible understands, of course, that the Kiss Cam is not exactly on the same sort of level as, for example, having the Supreme Court legalize gay marriage nationwide. However, every little bit does count.
“In the grand scheme of things, this bit hasn’t bothered me enormously (at least compared to last season’s losing record), but I do think it’s unnecessary and I’m hoping Mr. Khan will just end it since he is new on the scene and seems like a stand up guy. The Kiss Cam on its own is perfectly fine, but why insult people at all at the games?”