In case you’ve been on a different planet, an active NBA player, Jason Collins, is advertising the fact he’s gay.
The one item this blog doesn’t deal with is homosexuality. At least, not until now. But I’m going to say something here that might draw condemnation from some of you:
Does it really even matter anymore? He’s got an easy path to acceptance, at least from the players and the media. If I read comments correctly, the fans may be a different story. Sports Illustrated had to shut their comments for the story down after the vitriol became too much.
I heard today this guy is a modern day Jackie Robinson. My friends, that’s a joke, an absurd statement. Frankly I find some of Collins statements interesting, especially when referring to Joe Kennedy marching in a gay pride parade:
“I was proud of him for participating,” he wrote, “but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. . . . I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, ‘Me, too.’ ”
Well, why didn’t you? Because someone might see you? Hell, I’ve marched in a gay pride parade. I find that particular comment self-serving. Jason Collins had a 12-year career in the NBA. Jason Collins is now an end-of-the-bench player. Jason Collins got tweets in support. Players want to play with Jason Collins. Jason Collins got a call from the US President saying how proud he was of him. And even though Jason Collins is pretty much done career-wise, someone’s going to sign him. I kind of think that’s what this might be about. Yeah, I’m a little cynical. I’ve heard talk about how Collins is so brave. I will tell you this: I know of a former NHL player who is gay. He played in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. His teammates knew but didn’t accept him. Those days are over. There is little risk to Collins coming out, because those who are not for it are going to get lit up in the media. You cannot abuse gay people anymore and expect to get away with it.
Jackie Robinson was a great athlete selected to play major league baseball because of his ability and temperament. Jackie Robinson was a Rookie of the Year and a MVP. Jackie Robinson also got beanballs. Jackie Robinson had teams voting whether to play on the same field with him, including his own team. Jackie Robinson got garbage thrown at him, both physical and verbal:
The movie attempts to explain what Robinson endured, “and they tried to make it accurate . . . but Jackie had to deal with so much people wouldn’t even believe,” said Newcombe, the 1956 NL most valuable player and Cy Young award winner. “The things that happened to Jackie that first year . . . you couldn’t put that stuff in a movie.”
I’m sorry Jason Collins believed he had to hide his sexuality, and that made him feel bad. Jackie Robinson took verbal and physical abuse and he had nowhere to hide. Jason Collins hung out in five star hotels. Jackie Robinson couldn’t even stay in the same hotels with his teammates. No one except Jason Collins knew about Jason Collins except a few select individuals. Everyone knew Jackie Robinson was black.
At the time Jackie Robinson started playing major league baseball, black Americans in the south had legal issues in voting. That’s an understatement; in peaceful protests, they were often attacked by police. Robinson’s debut in major league baseball preceded school integration by seven years and the Civil Rights Act by fourteen years. The current US President courted votes (and money) from the LGBT community, and supports gay marriage, which is now legal in several states.
Like I said, I’ve marched in a gay pride parade in support of some friends of mine who happened to be gay and had suffered immensely from a closeted lifestyle. In my opinion, gay pride is a good thing, because a lot of young gay people didn’t have the support of parents, relatives and friends. Being gay and young can be a lonely place. Gay persons should not be treated as second class citizens and they deserve equal protection under the law. But Jason Collins compared to Jackie Robinson? Ridiculous. We have gays and lesbians in the U.S. Congress. And as strange as it may sound, there were probably gay athletes in major sports before Jackie Robinson played his first major league game.