I was stuck on route 10 last Saturday afternoon flipping channels on the radio when I came across a gravelly voice attached to a man who acted like he’d injected himself with Starbucks Sumatra Extra Gold. Glass was breaking in the background as, he said, people were trying to break into the recording studio. He followed that with a rant about former colleagues who now hated him because he has a lucrative new gig on satellite radio.

Bricks coming through the window, haters, this guy was paranoid. But he was also very entertaining. He sang a hilarious song to the rhythm of a polka that appeared to be completely adlibbed. I was listening to Scott Ferrell on Fox Sports Radio.

Look, if I listen to sports radio my standards can’t be very high, okay, but the fact that Ferrell can make extremely transparent sexual references and repeatedly refer to lesbians as wannabe men without any fallout is very disheartening.

Next I heard audio of two players grunting during a tennis match that I recognized from the match between Andy Roddick and Andrei Pavel in their Davis Cup match the day before. How sick is that, I now watch so much tennis now that I can identify grunts. This was the introduction to a mock interview with Amelie Mauresmo. The use of men grunting instead of women was part of the plan. Mauresmo is a muscular, broad-shouldered lesbian. Of course that makes her a man.

The interview starts with Ferrell strolling into the locker room where, by the way, no press is allowed. After he enters, Mauresmo asks him to look under her skirt to find the titanium racket that is strapped to her leg. She then goes on to say that she wants to squeeze Ferrell’s balls, his Penn balls, and accuses Justine Henin-Hardenne of quitting “like all my lovers, they quit because of my hairy back, ” referring to Henin-Hardenne’s retirement during the Australian Open and yet more reasons why lesbians either are or want to be men.

It will come to no surprise to you that Ferrell has a regular gig on Howard 101, Howard Stern’s satellite radio show. I have no problem with Howard Stern, he can do whatever he likes and I don’t have to listen to him. I even have a friend who is appearing on his show in the near future. She just released a new book about her life as a professional submissive. You can read about it here. Clearly I’m no prude.

But I have a big problem with ignorance and insulting stereotyping.

You can see why Mauresmo doesn’t encourage questions about being a lesbian and you can see why no active male athlete in a major sport has come out of the closet. I can imagine that there are many more stupid comments about strap-ons in everything from, well, a Howard Stern show to instant messages between adolescent males who are afraid of lesbians because they’re having enough problems as it is getting a date considering their acne and dorky looks and lesbians certainly will not want to go out with them.

Look, if I listen to sports radio my standards can’t be very high, okay, but the fact that Ferrell can make extremely transparent sexual references and repeatedly refer to lesbians as wannabe men without any fallout is very disheartening. Rather than getting into trouble, he’s been rewarded with a regular appearance on satellite radio.

Ignorant comments about lesbians in general are stupid, the same comments about a particular individual, especially one who has carried herself so professionally throughout her career, are totally unacceptable. But I don’t hold out much hope. If Fox doesn’t want Ferrell, Howard Stern does. So we have a two-tiered system: the FCC will continue to censor broadcasts on AM and FM radio and everyone else can go to hel… I mean, satellite.

Someone recently asked Bud Collins for his choice of the best tennis player of all time. He didn’t hesitate: Billie Jean King. Nobody did more for tennis. She spearheaded the women’s tennis tour and thereby did more for women’s sports than anyone else. She beat Bobby Riggs in an event that was a seminal moment in the women’s liberation movement. And she was, unwillingly, the first professional athlete to come out of the closet when Marilyn Barnett slapped her with a palimony suit.

Take one look at Scott Ferrell’s comments above and imagine what kind of psychic grief Billie Jean had to endure as the face of the feminist movement and the gay and lesbian movement. Ferrell’s comments might be tame relative to the comments that ignorance about feminists and lesbians in the 70’s must have produced. Even Arthur Ashe, the bastion of civility, told Billie Jean that no one wanted to watch women play tennis. Still, she won twelve grand slam singles titles and thirty-nine total grand slam titles.

I’d like to think that things have improved since Billie Jean was on the tour. Certainly gays and lesbians have made huge strides in acceptance, they are now allowed to marry in a few selected places.

It’s unfortunate that Ferrell hasn’t been keeping up.

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