Only days after Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson was suspended for using anti-gay slurs, another professional athlete has been accused of doing the same thing. Dallas Mavericks player Drew Gooden is accused by a Los Angeles Clippers fan of calling him and his friend "faggots" at Staples Center after Saturday night's game, Outsports reports.
The fan, actor Chris Wylde, who is married and not gay, is a Clippers season ticket holder and was sitting with his friend close to the Mavericks' bench during Dallas' 93-84 NBA win. The 28-year-old Gooden, a seventh-year player signed by Dallas this season, was in street clothes after an injury. Wylde said that Gooden made eye contact with them during the game, but no words were exchanged. He also says that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban "winked at us and pointed" during the game because both men were in Halloween costumes.
"My friend and I have been season ticket holders for the Clippers for eight seasons. Last night was Halloween, and he dressed up as longtime Clippers announcer Ralph Lawler and I dressed up as an airline pilot. We were upgraded to courtside Row 2, adjacent to the Mavs bench. We were maybe 10 feet away. All game, we loudly proudly rooted for our Clippers. We threw in some silly good-natured jibes against the Mavs (nothing against Gooden specifically) like how they have a short backup point guard, and that Dirk Nowitzki clearly had a fake tan. Is it a spray? Is it a cream? That sort of stuff. Very silly. Very innocent. But 95% pro-Clippers loudness.
"After the game we went to the souvenir shop and my friend said he wanted to check if one of the kiosks had a particular jersey he was looking for, so he headed back through the stadium and I followed a few feet behind. I saw him look shocked and turn to me, then I heard from Drew Gooden who was surrounded by three or four guys walking past me and pointing to me, 'there's that other faggot.' He had said 'there's that faggot' about my friend and that's why he turned to me shocked. It was completely unsolicited. We said nothing to him during the game, or in the hallway. He just called us both 'faggots' because he's a bigoted spoiled bully."
Wylde emailed Mark Cuban and the Mavericks' owner replied he would "deal w Drew." Cuban told Outsports he is seeking confirmation of what Gooden said "and that if he took any action, it would stay private."
Wylde tells Outsports he has known many gay people and has heard homophobic slurs hurled their way. "I do strongly feel that Drew Gooden and other professional athletes should not be walking around after games loudly referring to anyone, gay or straight, as a faggot," Wylde said. "I've been out with gay friends and been verbally assaulted with them. I've heard their stories before and it sickens me."
Maybe Drew Gooden will say he didn't know "faggot" was an offensive word?