Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jason Collins: Giving us all LOTS to be proud about!

From the NYTimes:
While most reaction has seemingly been positive, some wasn’t. Were you aware that Chris Broussard of ESPN said you weren’t a Christian if you’re openly and actively gay, and what’s your response?

My response is, first, I am a Christian. I know other gay and lesbian members of the community, the LGBT community, who are practicing Christians. This is all about tolerance and acceptance and America is the best country in the world because we’re all entitled to our opinions and beliefs but we don’t’ have to agree. Add obviously I don’t’ agree with his statement. This is where the discussion begins.


RonF said...

Hm. Turns out that the meme here is not true. He's not the first athlete in a major professional team sport in America to come out. He apparently is about 35 years too late for that. He's just the first one that the press decided to write stories about. The Atlantic is generally a reliable source for this kind of thing:

The man's name was Glenn Burke:

"... played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A's from 1976 to 1979. He tried to change sports culture three decades ago—but back then, unlike now, sports culture wasn't ready for a change.

Burke made no secret of his sexual orientation to the Dodgers front office, his teammates, or friends in either league. He also talked freely with sportswriters, though all of them ended up shaking their heads and telling him they couldn't write that in their papers. Burke was so open about his sexuality that the Dodgers tried to talk him into participating in a sham marriage. (He wrote in his autobiography that the team offered him $75,000 to go along with the ruse.) He refused.


Burke, who also died of AIDS-related causes in 1995, came out to the world outside baseball in a 1982 article for Inside Sports and even followed it up shortly after with an appearance on The Today Show with Bryant Gumbel. But his story was greeted by the rest of the news media and the baseball establishment, including Burke's former teammates and baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, with silence. Even his superb autobiography, Out at Home, which published the year he died, failed to stir open conversation about homosexuality in sports. Practically no one in the sports-writing community would acknowledge that Burke was gay or report stories that followed up on his admission."


Hmmmm ... Turns out "the meme" doesn't say he WAS the first ...

Besides which ignoring all the women who've come out in sports is like ignoring the women who saw Jesus first an "didn't count."

Nevertheless, Collins is to be applauded for his courage, clarity and Christian witness ... which was the point of this post.

(Thanks for the Burke story ... interesting!)

RonF said...

I wasn't intending to ignore women, but the story was noting what they claimed was the first athlete in a major professional team sport in America. Numerous female tennis athletes have come out as lesbians (e.g., Martina Navratilova), but while they are certainly well known they are not in a team sport. And there really isn't a female team sport in America that is reasonably definable as "major". The major team sports in America are men's football (NFL), men's basketball (NBA), men's baseball (NL & AL or MLB) and men's hockey (NHL). The only women's team sport that most people could name if they were really pressed is women's basketball (WNBA), and if you compare attendance, revenues and TV ratings to the other 4 - well, there's not much comparison.

RonF said...

"Turns out "the meme" doesn't say he WAS the first"

The story is that he's the first active player in a major team sport to come out. From CNN:

"Jason Collins, who played with the NBA's Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards this season, has disclosed that he is gay, making him the first active openly gay male athlete in the four major American pro team sports.


"I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation."

From EPSN:

"NBA center Jason Collins on Monday announced that he's gay in a story for Sports Illustrated, becoming the first active player in one of the four major American professional team sports to announce that he is gay."

I've thought a bit more about your comment about all the women who've come out in sports. I thought at first that you meant I was ignoring them, not the media. You make a good point - but I think why this came out in the way it did was that there's always been an issue as to how a gay athlete in a team sport would be received by his teammates, who after all spend a lot of time together in pretty intimate settings. Major female athletes have made their mark in more individualized sports such as tennis and golf, and their ability to relate to other people in the sport while being openly homosexual does not raise the same issues.

uffda51 said...

Why would an openly gay athlete in a locker room, in any sport, be an issue for anyone? What "issues" would this raise?