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Rick Moran

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April 29, 2013 - 4:40 pm

I think Allahpundit hit a home run in his analysis of the impact that pro basketball player Jason Collins’ self-outing will have on the country:

Easy prediction: 75 percent of the public will be casually supportive or casually disapproving but either way almost entirely indifferent. Fifteen percent, including lots of pols, celebrities, and the media, will support him enthusiastically. The other 10 percent will hassle him on the court or from the stands either because they dislike gays or just to spite the 15 percent of “opinion leaders” on the other side. Collins will get a standing O at his first home game next year — if he ends up being signed — and some fans on the road will get nasty with him when he fouls someone too roughly. He’ll do a few ads. Then, after a few months, with rare exceptions, everyone will get bored with it.

I’m already bored with it and it’s been just a few hours since the story broke. I am happy that Mr. Collins is at peace with himself and can now live his life freely. But is he a “hero” for coming out of the closet? Anyone with half a brain could have predicted the outpouring of love, support, and sympathy from most of the country who cares about these things. Everyone wanted to rush out their statement, or Tweet, or Facebook posting, trying to be first in proving just how tolerant they are. I suppose this is better than the alternative, but really — can we try to be a little more realistic and place Mr. Collins’ action in perspective?

A marginal pro athlete at the end of a solid career (you don’t last 12 seasons in the NBA without being a good contributor) admits to the world that he’s gay. I’ll admit it’s a novelty — the first active pro athlete to publicly declare himself a homosexual.

But what does it change? How many bigots will alter their views of gays and come to embrace them? If the reaction from some haters is any indication, not too many. Within minutes of the story breaking, ESPN sportscaster Chris Broussard was telling the world that Mr. Collins wasn’t a Christian:

Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly, like premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits. It says that, you know, that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, whatever it maybe, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the bible would characterize them as a Christian.

And American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer couldn’t help himself, I suppose:

“I will guarantee you,” said Fischer, “if the ownership of whatever team is thinking about bringing him back, or thinking about trading for him, and they go to the players on that team and they say ‘How do you feel about an out active homosexual being in the same locker room, sharing the same shower facilities with you?’ they’ll say no way. I don’t want that. I do not want some guy, a teammate, eyeballing me in the shower.”

A little projection by Fischer?

Those who believe Collins is being heroic in coming out point to the impact on young men and women still in the closet or having trouble dealing with their peers when it comes to their sexual preferences. I hope his impact is positive also, but is this “heroic” behavior? Being a role model is not the same as acting heroically. And while I’m sure it was difficult for Mr. Collins to come forward, we cheapen the word “hero” when misapplying it to people who, quite simply, don’t deserve it.

Refusing to move to the back of the bus? That’s an heroic act of defiance. Falling on a hand grenade to save your friends in war? That’s an heroic act of self-sacrifice.

How about telling cruel jokes about the president to his face? Bill Maher was deemed “heroic” by some for “speaking truth to power,” but that was nonsense. Was Sandra Fluke “heroic” for whatever it is she did? That’s how Democrats described her at their convention.

The point is simple. Words have specific meaning and using a word not to illuminate or explain but as a political crutch cheapens the language and dilutes the meaning of words like “hero.” You can admire Jason Collins for his decision. You don’t have the right to hijack the English language to service your agenda.

This is a story that will last about 48 hours and then drop out of sight until Mr. Collins either signs with another team or retires. Then, the hysteria will begin again. I suspect that given his abilities, some team in rebuilding mode with a lot of youngsters will sign him for his veteran presence in the locker room and on the court.

Then what? Will it be politically incorrect to cheer against Mr. Collins? Will any criticism by his teammates be seen as homophobia? I suspect those who will seek to use Mr. Collins’ status as a gay pro athlete to further their political agendas — on both sides of the issue — will jump on any controversy, no matter how trivial, in order to score points against the opposition.

For my part, the Chicago Bulls could use a man of character like Jason Collins. I hope they give him a serious look before the start of next season.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Perhaps I'm daft, but exactly why do celebrities, no matter how obscure or renown, find the need to disclose everything about themselves. I don't care if someone is gay, straight, neuter gender or a turkey living in a rhino's body, and I suspect most everyone else out here in Normal Life Land doesn't either. Exactly what does public self-disclosure serve except to call attention to oneself? Follow the money, I suppose. Here comes the TV rounds, the talk show circuit, and The Book.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
i'm tired of hearing about it. 30 years ago homosexuals wanted to live their lives. they were right. now they want us to live there lives. they are wrong. i don't care who does what to who in the backyard for how much. i don't want to see hormone overwhelmed heterosexual teenagers groping in public and i don't want to hear about the sex lives of homosexual, transgenders, or any other combination of insert tab A into slot B, including heterosexual. your sex life is of interest to you and perhaps the westboro church. how about leaving the rest of us alone.

let the hate responses begin
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (20)
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"Courage" has become just another debased commodity.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I just wish someone would tweet: "I didn't care about Jason Collins sexuality prior to his announcement and I still don't now. I wish him nothing but success and happiness in his future."

In all honesty why should we care? I mean I guess it's a big deal because he's the first "out" athlete in a big name sport. At the end of the day it's his business and I hope he finds a modicum of peace. However.....call me cynical(and I may be) but Collins is a scrub(by NBA standards), he's 34 years old and a free agent.....it's a total win for dude; he either gets signed(and if he doesn't I can see the left saying he hasn't been signed because of him coming out) or he rides this "hero" train on the talk show circuit.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps I'm daft, but exactly why do celebrities, no matter how obscure or renown, find the need to disclose everything about themselves. I don't care if someone is gay, straight, neuter gender or a turkey living in a rhino's body, and I suspect most everyone else out here in Normal Life Land doesn't either. Exactly what does public self-disclosure serve except to call attention to oneself? Follow the money, I suppose. Here comes the TV rounds, the talk show circuit, and The Book.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
A couple of weeks ago, one of the big anchors (I think Brian Williams, but I'm not sure) stated his surprise at how no athletes had come out. I thought, "Of course you're surprised! You're surrounded by celebrities and politicians! Not every profession attracts narcissists who need to be validated by strangers!"
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Exactly what does public self-disclosure serve..."

A big part of the contemporary Leftism's agenda is the killing off of cultural norms.

This announcement from a sports guy fits the template.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
So Mr. Collins announced he's gay.

So what?

Isn't the whole idea of "gay rights" to treat people as individuals regardless of "who they choose to love" or "how they're born" (depending on which arm of the leftist doctrine is talking)? Wouldn't indifference be the ultimate victory, because it would people REALLY DIDN'T CARE if he's gay or not (which is supposed to be the whole point)?
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
This guy got a call from Barack and some gushing from Michelle to add to all the other gushing out there ? (or so I heard in passing on "the news")

Insane.

A friend of mine had a good line...

"I'm waiting for the press conference for when a women's basketball player comes out as straight."
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Collins has been in the league a dozen years and with several different teams, so I would expect that whatever feelings other NBA players and team officials feel about the man should be locked into place based on that, and not on Monday's announcement.

FWIW, the surrounding actions will be more interesting than the announcement -- does Broussard keep his ESPN job for his comments? Meanwhile, former teammate Jerry Stackhouse told the New York Daily News the Collins should be assured of a contract next season because he came out:
http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/nets/stern-nba-assure-collins-contract-nets-stackhouse-article-1.1330653
...which is where we get into potential problems, if politics are going to decide who does and who doesn't get special treatment in the world of pro sports, which is supposed to be the purest meritocracy the public deals with. Does an NFL team sign the openly gay Middle Tennessee State kicker to a free agent contract, if cutting him at some future time ends up getting the team embroiled in gay rights politics? Teams want as little disturbance to the routine as possible, which is also why the Jets new general manger cut Tim Tebow on Monday, because he didn't want to go through a second season of the quarterback circus.

Creating some mandate to keep marginal players around for non-performance reasons (at least until some A-level player comes out as gay) invites the same type of circus, which in the case of Collins and a 13th NBA season would likely be more the media's fault than the player's, since a role player on one of the NBA's worst teams certainly shouldn't be expecting job security going into the 2013-14 season.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
In other important news, the sun was determined to be hot...
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
It will be interesting to see where this story goes, a non-story in my book.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Plus I'm looking forward to his final years in the Turkish Basketball League, where no sportscasters will say anything.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Liberals manufacture hate. By their standards, the guy's a hero. He's a hero cuz to liberals, America is a land of white, straight privilege, racism, xenophobia, homophobia and who knows what else. White straight people are are so spiritless and immoral one can scarce keep track of their shortcomings, as new ones pop up every week.

Give the guy a ticker tape parade and a medal, and let me get back to my real world of I-don't-give-a-sh-t. He may as well have formally announced he collects comics and thinks they should all be digitized into the Library of Congress or you're not on the right side of history.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
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