He is perhaps the most visible openly gay man in the sports community and on Thursday Feb. 20, LZ Granderson shared his personal journey with the CSU community at the Lory Student Center Theatre and found himself addressing issues of prejudice within the CSU community.
Granderson is a Senior Writer for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. He also writes a weekly column for CNN.com. Granderson identifies as gay, black and Christian and uses his visibility in media as a platform to discuss various social issues.
Throughout his lecture, Granderson was very involved with the crowd and encouraged discussion among the attendees.
The subject of Colorado State’s defensive line coach Greg Lupfer was brought up by a member of the audience. Lupfer was temporarily suspended after the New Mexico Bowl game for using a gay slur.
Granderson questioned whether we would be satisfied with the handling of this if it had been a racial slur. He explained that gay slurs are still viewed differently, which reflects that work still has to be done.
Then a man in the audience stood. It was coach Lupfer, who attended the event.
“This does not define who I am as a person,” Lupfer said. “What I said was wrong.”
Granderson thanked members of the audience for participating in conversation and not being afraid to speak their minds.
“This discourse is what we need,” Granderson said. “We can’t get anywhere without any friction.”
As far as Granderson’s role in the sports community, he said that he has frequently challenged his bosses and has been actively involved in changing the culture at ESPN. He explained that he would like to only focus on his work but feels it is necessary to speak out so that he can help others.
“It would be selfish of me to not use my position to make it easier for the generations to come,” Granderson said.
He lecture titled “Dare You to Move” used humor and personal stories to discuss issues that ranged from the death of Renisha McBride, a shooting victim in Michigan, to religion, to Red Lobster’s cheddar biscuits.
“I have followed Granderson’s work and I think he is a very important figure in journalism,” said Ashley Miller, a communications studies sophomore at CSU.
When discussing an opinion column he wrote for CNN titled, “Why are black murder victims put on trial?”, he drew parallels to Trayvon Martin and popular culture.
“Richard Sherman is a thug because he gave a passionate interview, a Stanford graduate,” Granderson said. “Justin Bieber is just misunderstood.”
He also discussed an article he wrote titled, “No contradiction: I’m black and gay,” which discussed two communities that are often viewed as conflicting.
“Boxes are for shoes, not people,” Granderson said.
He frequently discussed his faith and explained the struggle he endured after coming out. He believes many members of the LGBT community feel that they must abandon their faith but he has found people to be very accepting.
“It’s so freeing to not be ashamed of such an important part of your life,” Granderson said.
Brian Buchanan, a senior social work major, attended the event to support Black History Month.
“It was interesting to see how he brought up his faith,” Buchanan said. “It’s not something you typically hear.”
LZ Granderson, an ESPN sportswriter, who identifies as openly gay, black and Christian, will be giving a lecture titled “Dare You to Move” Thursday at CSU.
The event will take place on Thursday Feb., 20 in the Lory Student Center Theatre from 6-8 p.m.
Bennett Lee, an event coordinator and liaison for the GLBTQ2A Resource Center, explained that Granderson provides a unique perspective because he is high profile in the sports community, while also holding marginal identities openly and proudly.
“LZ Granderson holds a lot of identities, which is what prompted us to bring him to CSU,” Lee said.
According to the event website, Granderson will share “his journey from poverty, physical abuse and gang culture in Detroit to becoming the most visible openly gay man working in sports today.”
“It should be a fun, entertaining and informative event,” Lee said.
The event is free and open to the public. More information about the “Dare You to Move” lecture can be found at www.csurams.com.
Collegian Reporter Maddie Buxton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.