Jason Collins is Back in the NBA, and America Wants You to Know They’re Cool With It

Jason Collins came out as homosexual in May of last year. Good for him, I say. More power to him and his cause. I hope it all works out for him. But I don’t care where he puts his dick. I don’t, for that matter, care where anyone directs their genitalia. It just isn’t my concern. Don’t get me wrong – I get it in the sense that it is a big step forward for regular people to come out of the closet, never mind semi-prominent professional athletes. I understand and appreciate the enormity of it and what it means for the culture as an entirety. I do get that.

This idea that everyday America needs to be okay with it – to basically give a tick of approval in some sense – I have a big problem with.

For the record, I am a straight man. I have sex with vaginas. Well, vagina. Singular. You probably have no use for this information, but I’m giving it to you anyway.

The Brooklyn Nets signed Collins to a 10 day contract, in a move considered to be “a landmark”. There was a press conference and everything. If this man – a player with career averages of 3.6 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game – were not gay this would not be a story. But since he is, its front page news. Again, I’m glad he has secured temporary gainful employment, but I’m confused as to how this is newsworthy.

Shannon Brown was signed to consecutive 10 day contracts recently, but because he (presumably) is straight there’s nothing interesting to note.

Is Collins’ signing meant to signify that the Brooklyn Nets, and therefore the NBA as a corporation, are progressive enough to handle taking in an openly gay man as some new level of acceptance and tolerance? I don’t buy it. The Nets reached out to Collins because he fills a need and has played with head coach Jason Kidd a decade ago.

To me, the buzz around this only serves to highlight that we as a culture have a long way to go until true acceptance is reached. I think once a high-profile person comes out and it creates a ripple and not a tidal wave in our culture is when we have truly reached an acceptable level of tolerance.

If I were in Collins’ shoes I would find the hype surrounding his re-entry in the NBA highly offensive and patronizing, and I would question whether my signing was a legitimate basketball-related decision or a shrewd PR move.

 

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