’s LZ Granderson comes through with the not-too-surprising scoop that — along with bloggers of all stripes (CSTB’s big dog, who keeps an admirably close eye on Naimond’s threads), TV critics with foppish hairdos, whoever booked half the cast as models for the Akademiks print adds and most other people who’ve seen the show — professional athletes love HBO’s The Wire. It’s always fun, if fun in a distinctly infotainment-oriented sort of way, to find that pro athletes talk about things that my friends and I — semi-pro bullshitters at best — talk about. But the fact that Granderson’s article begins with a quote from Gandhi is an indication that there’s a broader point to be made, and an agenda at work here. Yeah yeah you know it: the homosexual agenda.

“A lot of black athletes like the show because it really tells it like it is,” says (Larry) Hughes, who grew up in St. Louis. “It goes beyond just who got shot, which makes it more interesting, because life in the ‘hood is more complicated than that.”

Which brings me to my point.

Omar — the gun-slinging vigilante who, without question, is one of the most respected and loved characters on the show — is gay. And I’m not talking the secretive and shady Haggard/Foley variety. I’m talking waking-up-buck-naked-with-his-buck-naked-Latino-boyfriend-on-the-other-side-of-the-bed gay. Everyone on the block knows. And so does the audience.

Can you think of another show or movie in which pro athletes openly root for the gay guy? I can’t.

Granderson’s point on pro sports’ ignorant sexual politics is hard to argue with — “male athletes aren’t opposed to gay teammates simply because they are gay. It’s because they perceive them as being weak” — but he finds little traction for his “secret tolerance” thesis in the article; two brief paragraphs after diagnosing pro athletes’ embrace of Omar, he quotes Hughes as saying he just “closes his eyes to that (gay) part” of Omar’s persona, and gets Ravens WR Derrick Mason on-record with some off-the-rack “we’re in the showers a lot, it’s different” quote explaining why he wouldn’t want a gay teammate but would TiVo a show featuring a gangsta with serious predilections for Newports and dudes. LZ gets points for effort, but it will almost certainly take a lot more than Omar dispensing his trademark brand of thug luv to West Baltimore’s drug dealers on Sunday nights to change people’s ignorant opinions about gay folk. But I’d still like to know what Larry Hughes’ guess is at Prop Joe’s weight and Herk’s IQ. Mine are 320 and 20, respectively.