“The Game” tackles gays in pro sports: Touchdown or fumble?


"Ladies and gentlemen … the tight ends!"

We wrote last week that the CW’s football sitcom The Game would be featuring a gay storyline on Friday, and we tuned in to check out just how the show would handle the idea of a closeted gay player being on a pro sports team.

I actually got a kick out of several parts of the episode, mostly the intentionally over-the-top "It’s Raining Men" musical number in the locker room. But when the episode ended with most of the issues left unresolved, I was frankly a bit worried … which was thankfully the show’s intention.

Here’s what went down…

Lead character and team star Malik (Hosea Chancez) has a nasty ex (Robin Givens, playing herself) who implies in a TV interview that their marriage went sour because Malik is gay (he’s not). His teammates give him some good-natured ribbing (that’s where the musical number comes in) but things get complicated when, after a party with the boys, his super-sized teammate Clay (guest star Marcello Thedford) makes a pass at him.

Malik goes into full-on gay panic mode despite Clay’s insistence that it was a misunderstanding, and eventually outs Clay to the team during a game. In the closing moments of the episode, Clay is benched by the coach and the team goes out onto the field to finish the game, leaving him alone in the locker room as the crowd roars outside.

I was actually a bit shocked by this ending, as I didn’t get the impression that the show was going to come back to the topic in the next episode, making the whole thing feel like a retro cautionary tale. But the preview for next week’s episode is online and makes it clear that the idea of having a gay guy on the team is the main story in this coming week’s episode, so all may not be lost for Clay yet.

Will Malik see the error of his ways and come to accept his teammate for who he is? We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, you can watch last week’s ep in its entirety and check out the preview for the upcoming ep over on the CW’s website.

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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