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Sports fans online rage at Pride Month. Is this true in Nevada, too?

Las Vegas Aces

Are there more racists and bigots among sports fans?

It’s a question derived from a column by Adam Hill, sports writer for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. This was headline: “Teams’ social media posts become target during Pride Month.”

Now, we all know social media is sort of the seventh circle of Hell in the internet age. People say horrific things to each other that they aren’t likely to say in person.

But is there a special brand of person who goes on hateful tirades when innocuous nods to Pride Month are posted by professional sports teams?

Hill and Andre Wade, state director of Silver State Equality, joined State of Nevada host Joe Schoenmann to talk about Hill’s view on and how the environment for the LGBTQ+ community in Las Vegas.

Hill said he wrote the column because he had recently watched social media mavens reading hateful posts on pro sports websites that had mentioned support for Pride Month.

“So I started looking through other teams, and there was just awful, awful stuff out there, and a lot of teams are just trying to delete them as soon as they came in,” he said. “So now you’re tasking your social media department not only with crafting the right message and trying to be so careful to not offend people … but also then, spending the rest of their day … trying to delete hateful comments. Why is this a thing? It’s preposterous.”

Vegas sports teams aren’t immune. Hill said he finds the same kind of social media remarks related to two-time defending champions, the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces. “If you’re an Aces fan and you’re hateful, what are you doing? Not all of (the comments) are disgusting, but it’s all hateful. It’s just awful to see.”

Wade said he appreciates the effort by social media teams who take the time to delete those hateful posts. “Me and my buddies who watch sports and talk about sports all the time, and happen to be queer, are part of the sports environment. So we are very much looking at these sports teams who are posting about Pride.”

Hill added that he’s slightly ambivalent about the posts—not that he likes to see them, but he wants to know where they’re coming from.

“I want to see…the comments to know that, hey, these are awful people I don’t want to associate with,” he said. “But at the same time, I think it’s awful for people who are part of the (LGBTQ+) community … I don’t know what the right solution is. Is it the teams who didn’t put anything up, because they don’t want their fans to see those awful things?

“I don’t think there’s a right answer. It’s a reality that there are those people out there, that are going to say awful and gross things. And I just wish it wasn’t true, but it just is. So where do we go from that? I don’t know.”

Guests: Andre Wade, state director, Silver State Equality; Adam Hill, sports writer and columnist, Las Vegas Review-Journal

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.