Okay, this is difficult for me to admit but Seyward is, gulp, right about the homophobia that infects some Duke haters: It's undeniably there. And as someone who hates Duke for ideological (as well as basketball) reasons, it's a problem. Believe me, there's nothing worse than making an open and shut case as to why Coach K is a right-wing, elitist instrument of Satan himself, only to have some yahoo frat boy undermine it all by holding up a "Singler's a fag" sign.
I also think Seyward's right that the homophobic taunts aimed at Duke players have a lot to do with the fact that many of them are white. In fact, thinking back on the various Dukies who've been called "gay" over the years, the only black player I can recall who's faced that taunt is Brian Davis--and his reputed "gayness" was always in relation to a white player, Christian Laettner, his best friend on the team. (Requisite bit of Duke-bashing: Davis was apparently Laettner's only friend on the team. (Sorry, I can't help myself.))
But I think Seyward goes astray when she writes that
in the world of sports, being white as well as wealthy often translates into a perceived softness. . . . For many Duke bashers, expressing anti-gay sentiment seems to be just one more way of delivering the message that Duke players are whiny, wimpy, pampered products of privilege.
I actually think something else is going on here. The homophobic Duke haters aren't necessarily taunting Duke players as whiny wimps; they're just taunting them just as they would their friends. Let me explain: the presence of so many white players on Duke's team creates the somewhat unusual dynamic of white fans taunting white athletes. As a result, this white-on-white shit-talking frequently takes the form of the shit-talking that goes on between the white taunters and their white friends--which, if you've recently spent much time with a certain class of white guys between the ages of 15 and 40, you know is a pretty homophobic form of shit-talking.
I also think it's important to note that, when it comes to homophobic Duke haters, Maryland fans, not Carolina ones, are the worst.