NBA center Jason Collins came out today via magazine cover (the best way to come out, I think, if you have that luxury), and I encourage you to read everything you can about it. Here’s a snippet from the Sports Illustrated story:
I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.
I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand. (via SI.com)
You’re going to read a lot of unnecessary commentary about it today, so I’m not going to beat you over the head with another LIBERAL BALLYHOO thing about the importance of a gay athlete in pro sports in the 2010s. I will, however, help you deal with some of the shit you’re gonna read in advance, because it’s almost cripplingly obvious.
Here’s your field guide:
– I do not care that Jason Collins is gay. That’s great, assuming you actually mean that, and are not using it as the “I’m not racist BUT” part of a longer sentence or paragraph.
– I do not care that Jason Collins is gay, I only care that he is bad at basketball. This is true. In 2012-13, Collins averaged 1.1 PPG, 1.60 RPG and 0.2 APG. He is not great at basketball! He is, however, a player in the highest pro league that basketball has. For example, if you know that Jason Collins is bad at basketball, you at least know who Jason Collins IS. Barrier breaks don’t always come with a Jackie Robinson. Sometimes it’s about opening the door a comfortable width and fielding the asinine, hateful, time-specific comments yourself so that a gay kid who is f**king spectacular at basketball can be himself and play in the league without anybody following “I don’t care that this kid is gay” with “but.”
– Being gay does not make you a hero. Correct! Heroism makes you a hero. The definition of that is subjective, and while Collins might not be a “hero” for stating his sexual preference in a magazine, it is extremely helpful to others.
– I’m white/straight/have done something of worth in my life and nobody calls ME a hero! Sorry! I hope you have had experiences of worth in your life or have hobbies or loved ones, and that if you thought about it for more than the time it took Sports Illustrated’s cover to reach your eyeballs, you’d realize that you are pretty cool, and do not need to be the most important person in the world all the time. We white, straight people will be okay. Promise!
– Why does anybody care about this? Because we aren’t there yet. We’re working on it, but a quick look at the comments section of anything on the Internet today involving Jason Collins, gay people, straight people, sports, entertainment or discussion of any kind should explain what you need to know. We are the most evil thing in the world when allowed to anonymously be.
– Here’s what I think about why being gay is wrong! Okay! You are allowed to have an opinion on whatever you wanna have an opinion about. I would urge you, however, to consider that “I dislike a group of people because X” is not so much “an opinion” as it is, at best, “what hateful people say.” “I do not like onions” is an opinion. “Gay people are an abomination in the eyes of God” is the sorta thing you should’ve stopped doing when you got to the “don’t judge other people, that’s God’s job” part of the Bible.
– How am I supposed to explain this to my children? By being a good, normal parent and talking to your children like human beings. They are growing up in a world that is slightly different from the one you grew up in! Don’t make me paste Louis C.K. text memes all over my sports blog. Your job as “mom” or “dad” is “explain shit to these kids you made.” You have to explain how pooping works, right? “Gay people exist” is way easier than “your body makes liquid and solid poison and you have to expunge it into a device that carries it to a treatment plant so nobody gets sick and dies from your gross ass-waste.”
– Jason Collins is only doing this for publicity! Maybe. Probably! People have opportunistic reasons for doing whatever they do. If your opportunism can aid in the effort to keep kids from killing themselves because they’re stuck in that historical flashpoint between derision and acceptance, that’s a plus. He could’ve just gotten a reality show about how much money he has.
– Anything about the liberal media or agendas or Obama or The United States Of America beyond basketball, Jason Collins and possibly Sports Illustrated. Yahoo.com would love to hear your thoughts!