Lance Berkman in hot water over controversial political ad

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Former Houston Astros star Lance Berkman finds himself embroiled in controversy after speaking out against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a measure that's designed to protect Houston’s LGBT residents and visitors.

The Houston native has become a spokesman for a group that's opposed to HERO, using his fame to attack the ordinance in recent radio ads.

The law in question would ensure public accommodations for transgendered people to use public bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. Berkman and his group are of the opinion that such accommodations would create an unsafe environment for “mothers, wives and daughters,” characterizing those impacted as “troubled men” and equating them with sexual predators and sex offenders.

Here's a snippet of Berkman's commentary courtesy of Out Sports

"No men in women's bathrooms, no boys in girls' showers or locker rooms," Berkman says in a new radio ad. "I played professional baseball for 15 years, but my family is more important. My wife and I have four daughters. Proposition 1, the bathroom ordinance, would allow troubled men to enter women's public bathrooms, showers and locker rooms. This would violate their privacy and put them in harm's way."

Berkman's involvement is being roundly criticized, and understandably so. It's a troubling display of intolerance that simply can't be defended or outright ignored. However, it's possible there's also some degree of ignorance involved. That shouldn't be excused either, but we can't always assume those who use their voice have a complete understanding of the impact of the message they're sending, or how such a law positively impacts lives.  

Sometimes, it really does come to education and understanding. In this case, what should be understood is an ordinance was created to open the door of acceptance to the LGBT community. To give them the same level of comfort others enjoy. To assume that will come at the expense of other's comfort is clearly misguided, as studies have clearly shown. But unfortunately those opinions will always exist, even as our education improves. 

All we can do is hope that with better education on these matters, further acceptance will come. And we can also take from the example of Reuben Poling, who rather than focus on the negative of Berkman's message, has decided to push a more positive and fulfilling response.  

Regardless of how much we disagree with one's opinion, we should always remain mindful that adding to the negativity helps no one. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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