The “Kiss-Cam” is one of sports’ most divisive fan gimmicks.
On the one hand, it uniformly gets a reaction in every arena in which its turned on two unsuspecting fans – and, frequently, when it’s used for a preplanned comedy bit.
On the other hand, there have been complaints through the years about the racial demographics of its featured performers and, more than anything, about it being a strictly heterosexuals-only gimmick.
For that latter reason, Mark Joseph Stern argued for the death of the Kiss-Cam in Slate in 2013. As former NFL player Wade Davis, a You Can Play executive director, told CNN two years ago, putting two men on the Kiss-Cam was “usually used to mock guy-on-guy interactions. It's not viewed as something that's welcomed and/or being celebrated.”
All of this leads to a recent Los Angeles Kings game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, where Staples Center was treated to the singular joys of the “Kiss-Cam.” There was the requisite old couple. There was the cute young man and woman. And then there were two guys wearing black Kings jerseys, who turned to each other and passionately shared a kiss …
… and the crowd cheered. Loudly. One of those building, joyous cheers when more and more people notice what’s going on.
While this moment hasn’t exactly been top of the highlights on major sports networks, it’s gone viral in the gay community. Outsports, the leading website for gay sports news and perspective, put it on YouTube and spoke to Brad Parr, who was at the game with Andy Evans.
"It was a particularly sweet night since the Kings were playing and beat my hometown Toronto," Parr told Outsports. "My parents and siblings live in LA but the rest of my family think I am a terrible traitor for being a Kings fan; I've lived in LA for 17 years."
It’s not the first time a moment like this got an ovation at a game: Who can forget the same-sex proposal between a Toronto Maple Leafs fan and an Ottawa Senators fan in 2012? Hockey’s been an inclusive place and progressive on issues – with some notable exceptions – to the point where the League is ready for its first gay player, according to Patrick Burke.
And then maybe these Kiss-Cam moments will be noteworthy for no longer being worthy of a note …
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