Perhaps one of the most visible sports journalists in the nation, LZ Granderson is African-American, openly-gay, Christian, and one of ESPN’s most popular columnists. The one time Detroit gang member is now a sought-after commentator on pivotal topics such as race, gender and politics, in addition to sports.
Prior to joining ESPN first as a magazine editor and later as a writer, Mr. Granderson was a sports columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and was the reporter to whom professional basketball player Sheryl Swoopes came out of the closet in 2005. He later joined ESPN360’s talk show Game Night.
Now a force to be reckoned with at ESPN.com’s Page 2 and ESPN the Magazine, Granderson sparked controversy in his July 16, 2009 CNN column titled “Gay is Not the New Black.” In the piece, Granderson wrote:
“In their minds, Obama is not moving fast enough on behalf of the GLBT community. The outcry is not completely without merit — the Justice Department’s unnerving brief on the Defense of Marriage Act immediately comes to mind. I was upset by some of the statements, but not surprised. (After the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, President Ronald Reagan’s initial handling of AIDS and, more recently, Katrina, there is little that surprises me when it comes to the government and the treatment of its people). Still, rarely has criticism regarding Obama and the GLBT community come from the kind of person you would find standing in line at a spot like The Prop House, and there’s a reason for that. Despite the catchiness of the slogan, gay is not the new black. Black is still black. And if any group should know this, it’s the gay community.”
The editorial journalist and activist was a Fellow at the Columbia University Hechinger Institute, is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, and has served on the board for the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Granderson won awards for the 2008 Excellence in Journalism awards given by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and from The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) in 2009 for his contributions to online journalism.
* Photo courtesy ESPN. Used with permission.