Amaechi Believes ESPN’s Super Bowl Ad With Shaq Was Homophobic

Former NBA play John Amaechi who is openly gay, recently sounded off on ESPN’s Super Bowl halftime commercial calling it homophobic, during an interview with The whole controversy stems from the reaction Shaq has after ESPN announcer Mike Breen asks Shaq for a “fist kiss”. What is your reaction to it?
John Amaechi: 
I think the ad is in poor taste; it just seems like another signal of yet another flagging, unimaginative, desperate, clutching-at-straws marketing department grasping for the lowest common denominator. It seems so out of character to ESPN ads of old. It makes me feel disappointed, but not angry in anyway…the ad itself is just too tenuous to even bother getting riled about.

AE: Did you find Shaq’s reaction — the use of the words “disgusting” and “weird” and his moving away from Breen — to be homophobic?
The character’s reaction to the “fist kiss” is of course homophobic, the subtext is that a man asking another man for any kind of kiss, even a ‘fist kiss’ should be met with repulsion – I am surprised Shaq went anywhere near this ad, given I don’t think that would be his true intention or belief; but as a player, I too would have disparaging words to say about someone calling ‘fist bumps’ anything like “fist kisses” – simply because it’s massively dumb .

AE: Some are finding the ad to send a message that same-sex affection is to be denigrated and possibly influencing young people to be intolerant. Perhaps as a retired NBA player you have a different take?
 Firstly, I don’t like this ad at all, less an less as I watch it with more thought, and I haven’t asked yet, but I BET big money that the NBA doesn’t like it either. But let’s face it, this ad is no reincarnation of the Snickers ad. I don’t think this ad is funny enough to have the kind of negative power we all fear. I think people, straight and gay, athletes or not, will all find this ad unnerving, trivial and unfunny to watch.

What do you think? 

Was this ad offense, are people over reacting or was it just another ad and no big deal?

Via After Elton