If you play football, you are dumb. If you play golf, you are arrogant. If you play hockey, you are thuggish. Sounds ridiculous, right? A sport does not a personality trait make. Stereotypes might suggest otherwise, but anyone with any sense sees through the generalizations. They ignore the wackiness. They recognize the reality. Except where softball is concerned. If you play softball, you are gay. That stupid stereotype is alive and well. We learned as much this week, the same week that the Big 12 tournament begins Oklahoma City’s springtime love affair with softball that culminates with the Women’s College World Series. We see the joy, the empowerment, the fun and the excitement in the sport. Sadly, too many others see something else. That realization came in an unexpected way. It started with a Supreme Court nomination, a prominent newspaper and a black-and-white photo. On Monday, President Barack Obama announced Elena Kagan would be his nominee to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. The next day, she was front and center in every major national media outlet, including the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper had a full page inside dedicated to Kagan’s nomination, and on the cover, it ran an old photo of her. The picture was snapped during her days as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School. It was taken during a faculty outing. A softball game. The photo quickly sparked a raging online debate about Kagan’s sexuality. Speculation has existed for years that she is a lesbian. She never got married. She never had children. Add that to the fact that she once played softball, and the rumor mill went into overdrive that she must be gay. Ryan Chittum wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review: "You don’t have to be a cynic to think that the Journal chose the 2-decade-old picture to imply Kagan is a lesbian.” You might not have to be a cynic, but you might need to be a complete and total moron. It’s as idiotic as saying every football player is dumb; Rhodes Scholar turned NFL draftee Myron Rolle might take issue with that. Thing is, there were plenty of folks who have made idiotic statements during this brouhaha. John Wright, a writer for the gay and lesbian publication Dallas Voice, told Politico, "Personally, I think the newspaper … might as well have gone with a headline that said, ‘Lesbian or switch-hitter?’” Cathy Renna, a gay and lesbian advocate, told the same website, "It is clearly an allusion to her being gay. It’s just too easy a punch line.” Hold on a minute. Are they saying that someone playing softball automatically means that they’re gay? Aren’t they also representing a minority group? Aren’t minority groups usually fighting against stereotypes instead of perpetuating them? Now, I’ll be the first to say that the use of the photo by the Wall Street Journal was goofy. It is a photo that shows her away from work, enjoying time with friends and doing something fun, which isn’t inherently bad. It is the kind of feature photo that a newspaper would run with a personality piece. But the day after she was nominated to the Supreme Court? "I do think it is a very interesting photo selection,” said Kelli Braitsch, who played on four consecutive Women’s College World Series teams at Oklahoma. "I mean, the woman has studied at Princeton, Oxford, Harvard and has been working directly in our government for years. And you print that photo?” Note to Wall Street Journal owner Rupert Murdoch: There’s this wonderful thing called Google Images. The bigger issue, though, is the way so many have linked playing softball with being gay. "Just because you are a single older woman who plays softball, you have to be gay?” Braitsch said. "I think one of the best players to play the game, Jennie Finch, would be offended by it.” The married mother of one is. "It is shocking that here we are in the 21st century and something like this is being brought up,” Finch told the Associated Press. Her national squad teammate Stacey Nuveman said, "We’ve got to get beyond that.” Nuveman is now an assistant coach at San Diego State. Friday morning as she prepared for the team’s final regular-season road trip, she made time to talk about the issue. That’s because softball has meant so much to her. It taught teamwork and instilled discipline. It provided an education. It gave her an opportunity. So, why the innuendos meant to ridicule the sport and gays for that matter? "For it to have to constantly defend itself in that way,” Nuveman said of her sport, "I feel like we should be beyond that.” We should be. Sadly, we aren’t.