Hockey Fans Cheer as L.A. Kings’ ‘Kiss Cam’ Features Gay Couple
The Los Angeles Kings scored a hometown victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs during a National Hockey League game this week, but some of the loudest cheers came when the Jumbotron displayed members of the crowd, not players on the ice.
Gay couple Brad Parr and Andy Evans were featured on the “Kiss Cam” during the game, Outsports reports.
“It was a particularly sweet night since the Kings were playing—and beat—my hometown, Toronto,” Parr told Outsports.
The Kiss Cam is a common feature at pro sports events. As Sixpence None the Richer’s 1997 hit “Kiss Me” blares from loudspeakers, cameras in the arena search for couples among the spectators, who are then expected to kiss for the crowd. Same-sex couples getting the treatment is still a rarity, though, and has even drawn boos on occasion.
Two men were featured on the Kiss Cam at games hosted by the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers over the past few years, and same-sex couples often share a peck at Los Angeles Sparks WBNA games at L.A.’s Staples Center, where the Kings also play. Nevertheless, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics decided to do away with the Kiss Cam altogether in 2009 rather than feature same-sex couples; apparently management wasn’t comfortable with the possibility of exposing children to two men or women kissing. “We got a lot of kids here,” Sheila Johnson, the Mystics’ managing partner, said at the time. “We just don’t find it appropriate.”
Sometimes when two men have been featured, it’s as a punch line to a joke. The New York Mets came under fire last year for featuring two players from the opposing team on the Kiss Cam, as if the idea of two male professional athletes kissing were knee-slappingly hilarious. After complaints from fans, the organization apologized and agreed not to repeat the prank.
In the 2015 international study Out on the Fields, 84 percent of respondents said professional games were rife with gay slurs and jokes, while 78 percent that openly gay spectators would “not be very safe” at a sporting event. Only 1 percent felt that gay people were totally accepted in sports, both on and off the field.
But the video of Parr and Evans’ smooch this week suggests that sports fans in at least some cities are becoming more accepting. Their kiss garnered more applause than those of any of the heterosexual couples featured on the Staples Center Kiss Cam on Thursday.