Jason Collins stepped out of the dark closet and into the pure light of day to make history as the first Gay professional athlete to “come out” in the four major USA team sports: Football, Basketball, Baseball and Ice Hockey. Some in the New York media have dismissed Jason’s bravery with indifference, “So what if he’s Gay?” they bleat. That sort of false nonchalance is an attempt to undercut Jason’s history-making move by belittling him for being something special when they think he is not.
With Jason coming forward, standing ever taller than he already is, and not being just the first Gay professional team athlete to come out, but also the first Black, Gay, athlete, he’s setting record books of human history afire with a legacy that cannot be dimmed; and that brings us straight around to the Supreme Court and their recent, and curiously odd, decision to finally weigh in on Gay Rights in America while they never appeared to care one whit in the past.
Why did the Supreme Court decide at this blister in time to get involved in the closed lives of Gay men and women?
The Supreme effort appears to be a last-ditch — “now or never” — moment when the conservative majority on the Court has this final instant to try to slam the door closed on Gay rights for a long while:
Justice Scalia, almost certainly joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., apparently made a twofold calculation: that their odds of winning would not improve as same-sex marriage grows more popular and more commonplace, and that Justice Kennedy, who is likely to write the decision in the case concerning the 1996 law, would lock himself into rhetoric and logic that would compel him to vote for a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in a later case.
It is not that the conservatives felt certain they would win. It is that their chances would not improve in the years ahead.
Now we see the beauty in Jason Collins’ revelation. He is blazing a bright path forward for others — perhaps more scared and less brave than he — to follow him into the public square to declare who they are and to claim that they are entitled to equal rights, too, and that they should allow to be married and have children and be just as miserable as most of the rest of the married world.
When Jason Collins stepped forward, those who oppose human rights and human love are forced to take a step backward to protect their sometimes indiscriminate, but often specific, hatreds. Stepping forward tends to shut up the haters and send them back into the dark where they can repress and fester and bury their deaths in the cold, rank, depths where no human being should ever be made to suffer; and, oddly enough, the compassion for that inhuman repression comes directly from those who have been there, and lived that, and who will never be made to walk in shame again just for being who they were born to be.
Own your life. Assess your hatreds and then bury them. Live with yourself by loving others. That’s Jason Collins’ legacy. That’s why Jason Collins is important to the all of us.
I saw this in the news – I have to confess I missed just how significant a move this was. I thought well done that man, I did not realise until reading this just how well done so thank you for expanding on the background.
It’s horrible how so many in the NY sports media are trying to play this down as nothing significant, “We love all the Gays!” — when they really just don’t want to have to talk about it on the air. They prefer to repress the significance of Jason’s revelation than have an honest discussion about discrimination in sports and society. Oh, they love Jackie Robinson and his “42” legacy, but the Gays? Better left unsaid… and unsupported…
With Jason stepping forward, there will now be others. That’s why “idols” and “stars” and “role models” are important for all of us when it comes to universal acceptance.
Can you imagine if Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player in history, came out and said, “Yes, I’m Gay, too.” He isn’t Gay, but the influence that statement would have in society would be a megaton bomb. The whole “Gay thing” would be dead and gone forever in that instant of revelation. It wouldn’t be a political or religious hot potato any longer. The Supreme Court would just shuffle away. No one is going to tell someone like Michael Jordan he can’t marry or have kids or have equal Federal rights.
That’s why what Jason did is so important — he finally helped set that final endgame ticking…
momentous indeed .
Now we’ll see who else dares step forward. There have been rumors that a pro football player wants to come out and baseball has always been a hot rumor mill, too, for an active player stepping forward. Now is the time.
@David – I hope that the avalanche is going to start now
A great day it will be indeed when there are no closets in which people will feel obligated to hide, so to speak. Until then, I’m glad we have role models like Jason. Martina Navratilova wrote a great piece about him :
Yes, it’s unfortunate that Jason had to be the first to step forward — just because there were better players than he, who are Gay, but no longer playing. He made history because he’s an active player. Janson is a player on a bad team, and he isn’t a great player, but his bravery is being in the now and not being like others before him who quietly claimed they’d “Come Out as Gay in retirement.”
Well, nobody of magnitude has ever stepped forward in retirement to say, “Remember me? Yah. Gay.” It doesn’t have the same effect when you have nothing real to lose.
Not even a unified “Spartacus Moment” helps much because saying, “I Am Gay, Too” when you are not is not helpful and it is rather pointless because you’re just lying to make yourself look good.
Sure, Jason may not be a superstar in the four major sports, but he’s an active player and he’s risking his future livelihood by putting himself right on the line of fire in the public square and no matter what happens, nobody can ever take that moment away from him.
I think the avalanche will start now. The reaction to Jason’s coming out has been, all told, pretty positive. When more people stand up in support, it becomes harder for the minority hatred to get a common foothold.
Why is Mike Francesca so set on letting everyone know he doesn’t care and he doesn’t think his sexuality is not a big deal, even though this is clearly a milestone in sports? It reminds me of when people say they “don’t see color”… I guess they also “don’t see” any instances of inequality or oppression.
I agree, Emily! I listen to Francesa quite a lot and he’s been horribly, deadly, wrong on two recent issues — and his callers have told him so, and he still blows them off — he didn’t think the Rutgers basketball coach’s behavior was “bullying” and he thinks Jason Collins coming out is no big deal.
He isn’t alone, though. Former on-air partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, feels the same way:
I think they just don’t want to talk about being Gay because they don’t understand it. They remind me of the mean Christians I used to go to school with who would rat you out or belittle others and then say, “I don’t like you, but I do love you, because Jesus wants us to love everybody.” I’d tell them they couldn’t have it both ways and that I hated them without question. SMILE! They just nodded at me with dead, unknowing, eyes.
This Collins matter is why it’s so important for the “Big Bangers” to “come out” and why so many in the Gay community are desperate to “out” their closeted, mainstream, superstars because once a star with, say, the magnitude of say, an “Oprah type,” or say, a “Tom Cruise sort,” then everything changes and the whole issue will be finished.
I know the big stars don’t want to risk their bottom line, but, like the Supreme Court, time is running out on them to do the right thing. When it’s all over, and these big stars finally “come out” in old age to nobody’s surprise, the reaction will be, “Too Late” not, “Finally!” Ellen was a start, but she just isn’t magnitudinal enough to make the final difference.