A Jackie Robinson moment?
NBA veteran Jason Collins has come out as gay. He’s the first active pro-athlete in a men’s team sport to do it. We have to include those modifiers, because the FIRST openly gay pro-athlete in a team sport was a woman – Sheryl Swoopes of the WNBA, who came out in 2005, although in 2011 she announced that she and her partner had split and that she was engaged to a man.
Life is complicated.
In any case, gay rights groups see Collins announcement as a breakthrough because pro sports is considered the last bastion of homophobia … the question is why? It can’t be that gay equals sissy because Jason Collins is 7 feet, 255 pounds, and he runs through the Santa Monica mountains wearing a 30-pound workout vest to stay in shape.
No, apparently it’s the same thing that spooked the military for 20 years.
It’s the showers. Guys are scared of what might happen in the showers. And so, in his coming out essay in Sports Illustrated, Collins tried to reassure everybody, quote, “Believe me, I’ve taken plenty of showers in 12 seasons. My behavior wasn’t an issue before, and it won’t be one now.”
This has been called a Jackie Robinson moment. Except that before Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers, there were no black players in the majors. Whereas Jason Collins has played in the NBA for 12 seasons and he’s been gay – and taking showers while gay – the whole time.
And he’s pretty sure he’s not the only one.
I don’t know how he’ll fare in the locker room, but at 7 feet and 255 pounds, he should do OK everywhere else.