Saturday, August 16, 2008

Taken Down

Over the years since my first novel PINS was published and found a devoted readership, a lot of people asked if I would ever write a sequel. It made sense to them. The story ends on an uplifting yet tenuous note. Joey has endured a lot, but may return to wrestling.

Yet, those who know the underlying story as more than that of a troubled gay high school wrestler may understand why that never happened. It's clearly an updated version of the story of Saint Sebastian, full of religious symbolism. So since I'd told the full story, and fully explored all aspects of the topic, I thought people would get that it was done, told, complete.

Yet, when I did consider exploring what would have happened to Joey and Dink a few years later, a few aspects left hinted at but not fully explored were considered.

And sadly for two young wrestlers, the exact scenario I considered played out last week.

Two University of Nebraska wrestlers have been kicked off their team after a blog posted the news that they had both dono solo masturbation videos for the website Fratmen Paul Donahoe and Kenny Jordan made the videos only a few months ago, and someone with a grudge started the blog The Scarlet Project, outing the two as having made the videos. News spread quickly, and gay blogs and porn blogs ran with it. Fratmen's CEO John Marsh quickly tried to expunge nude pics of them from various blogs, although if you Google "fratman Nash" you can find some of the guys and their, uh, big talents.

While it's sexy to see hot college jocks doing what comes naturally, it's rather sad to see promising wrestlers have their hopes dashed by what at least Jordan has admitted in a very brief interview as "a mistake."

It's difficult to imagine what drove a very successful wrestler like Donahoe to do something so seemingly innocuous to some communities, but "morally wrong" to others.

The sticking point, other than the sexuality question (it doesn't even seem like these guys are gay), is that they used their images for profit, which is against NCAA rules.

From an article at the porn (NSFW) site QueerClick:

"Says John Marsh, owner of Fratmen, "If Nebraska is going to be pigheaded and kick him off unreasonably there has to be another wrestling program that's going to want him... I'm in my mid-40s, and my generation has a stigma about porn. The kids, the generation of the student-athletes, don't have that stigma. They really don't care."

Apparently, Marsh doesn't realize that most of the people who control the college students' fate belong to his generation and have a stigma about porn. It's wonderful that the younger generation doesn't care, but the coaches, parents, teachers and employers do. Basically, Marsh's job involves making money off the naivete of college students.

And even though U. of N. has a right to uphold a standard of "decency" for its athletes, not surprisingly, Donahoe and Jordan's friends and fellow students have proven to be more tolerant than expected.

From the Daily Nebraskan:
When reached by phone by The Flint Journal — a newspaper near his hometown — Paul Donahoe ("Nash") said, "I can tell you that I am transferring and will wrestle next year. That's all I want to say now." He didn't indicate which school he will be transferring to. The Flint Journal also interviewed two of Donahoe's teammates:

"I was shocked about the whole thing when I heard about it and it's really sad when some little stupid fling that he did puts him in such a tough situation," said Kyle Chittick, who now wrestles at Cleveland State University. "This is something I never even thought I'd ever hear about Paul, but I really feel bad for him that this one bad decision gets blown up so much. I don't think that's justified."

Chittick said he spoke with Donahoe soon after the news broke. "I think he is more worried about his future in wrestling than anything else and this is the last thing he wanted to deal with as his senior year is coming up," Chittick said. "The last thing he wanted to do was leave Nebraska. Paul is one of the hardest working athletes I know and is a great student too. Nothing is going to keep him from going after his goal of winning another NCAA championship."

Chittick added he did not ask Donahoe for an explanation. "I really didn't want to get into the reasons he did this," he said. "I just wanted to keep our conversation simple and supportive."

Trevor Perry, a two-time NCAA qualifier at the University of Indiana, was Donahoe's high school teammate from 2002-04. "I really feel bad for Paul, bad decision or not," Perry said. "I can't imagine what he's going through. I'm sure he's in a lot of pain, but the Paul I know is going to deal with it and concentrate on the future."

300-plus more articles about all this seem to have locked their future inextricably to what to them, at the time, seemed like a little wank session. Well, no need to write that sequel. It's already happened. All I can say is, good luck to the little guys.

In other unpleasant wrestling news, at the Olympics, Ara Abrahamian, a Swedish wrestler, frustrated by the subjective judging (I've seen that happen, to me, and elsewhere) angrily tossed his bronze medal on the floor after getting a mere bronze. He was then stripped of his medal, and his outrage may be justified, his behavior didn't do him any good. More photos here, including of cute Italian gold medalist Andrea Minguzzi.

Wrestlers, I've learned, are some of the most intense athletes and people I know. They can be so solid about their devotion, and yet a streak of fury that sometimes can't be explained.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

idiot Nebraska... Paul gave HONOR to Nebraska by winning a national championship & they're treating him like dirt for a MINOR prank that could best be described as youth's folly. How many champions has Nebraska produced anyway that they seem to be overflowing with them?