the belief or doctrine, held chiefly in the middle and latter part of the 19th century, that it was the destiny of the U.S. to expand its territory over the whole of North America and to extend and enhance its political, social, and economic influences. Origin: 1835–45.
Assuming you’ve been living inside of Trinidad James’s afro, I am sure you heard about the first active professional athlete Jason Collins to come out the closet and let the world know that he is gay. And while Collins is no Lewis or Clark, he along with Brittany Griner* are the first current/active players (*Brittany Griner was recently drafted as the number one overall pick in the 2013 WNBA draft by the Phoenix Mercury has yet to play professional basketball) are blazing a path across uncharted territory and land in being the first active playing athletes to come out.
There have been other athletes to come out before Collins and Griner, but they waited till there playing days were over, leaving both Collins and Griner to be the first two athletes to do it while still playing. While Griner coming out wasn’t as big of a shock as Collins nor a surprise due to the facts that everybody that has either seen Griner or seen her play basketball in college assumed she was gay or unfairly that she was a man. Besides the most people just assume most WNBA players are lesbian anyways.
Since we now live in a post-racial and a more tolerant society this is not as big of a deal as it would have happen say 20 years ago. With 50% percent of the population ok with same sex marriage, 8 states that allow gay marriage along with the District of Columbia, and gays being portrayed on TV shows (during primetime) you would think that an active gay player coming out would be expected.
The problem is this, it is a big story and while change is inevitable it can still be feared. Collins coming out may have gotten less traction than Tim Tebow being cut by the New York Jets by sports outlets yesterday but believe me by this weekend every media outlet will run the story into the ground.
One reason why it’s not as big as it could be now is because, and I’m keeping it real as far a professional athletes are concerned, Collins is a nobody. He isn’t a player whose name is recognizable or put up big stats when playing. Another reason is this is the off season for a lot of NBA teams and Collins is a free agent, currently not on any teams roster. Basically unless you are playing in the playoffs right now, the news surrounding your team will receive minimal coverage at best.
And here is where things get tricky, because sports news is quiet for a lot of NBA teams and like I mentioned Collins not being on a current roster, it’s easy for this story to be a non issue. Yes he’s receiving a lot of praise and support from players from all sports.
But once the season starts back will future teammates and team ownership be as supportive or even want Collins on their team? We all know how homophobic and testorone filled male locker rooms can be, you have players that are afraid to shower with or in front of other players just because “they don’t if the other person is gay and they don’t want them looking at them”. It’s easy to support somebody you don’t have to deal with on a daily basis, or from a distance.
Unfortunately something like this could potentially determine whether or not he is signed by another team, I hope I’m wrong though. Sports is a business and most owners are more concerned with filling seats than the a players level of comfort.
But I’m sure Jason Collins has thought all of this through and is willing to accept any backlash (if any) or apprehension that he may receive. Though it must be said he should be applauded for his courage and willingness to not only come out but to come out confidently, letting the world know this is who I am, I could give a damn what you think, take it or leave it.
What do you think about Jason Collins coming out? Do you think that it will give other athletes the courage to do the same? Do you even care?
Talk to me, I’ll talk back.