The 10th Inning

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1 May

NBA Star Jason Collins And His Announcement Fall Short

The magnitude of Jason Collins' proclamation: "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm Black. And I'm gay." on Monday should possess enough geographical force to set off tremors on the San Andreas fault line, sending California out to sea, unfortunately, it barely made a ripple. The main reason being the timing. He waited until his pending free agency to make the announcement. The reasoning was he didn't want to be a distraction to his teammates. He played for the Washington Wizards who haven't been relative since the days of Wes Unsel, thus the distraction would have been a welcome to overcome all the losing. The other reason being Jason Collins is not a household name. He is now, but not for his playing career. He's not a perennial All Star, in the prime of his career, averaging 18 points, 11 rebounds, 4 block shots a game, with Madison Avenue swooning over his charm and marketability. He's a free agent hoping to be signed, for which the probability is low, not because of his sexual orientation, but because there isn't much need in the NBA for a third string center whose career isn't of the Timbuk 3 variety. 

Weather Jason likes or not, he is vastly becoming the poster child for equality, torch thrust in hand, leading the way by default for generations to come placing him in rarefied air with the likes of the late Jackie Robinson, Billy Jean King, and Martina Navratilova. But all this will be for not if Jason doesn't sign on the dotted line with a new team. The impact of his announcement will be lost, turning it into a mere Wikipedia footnote losing momentum for the equality movement.

I commend Jason for his bravery. I commend him for breaking the gay stereotype, putting masculinity in the fabric of the LGBT community. I commend him for being a role model to young boys who feel a little different because of the insurmountable pressures placed on their young shoulders by society to be so called "normal".

What I don't commend is how he went about it. He held a valuable resource, one in which would change millions of lives and unleashed it in the matter of such insignificants, you hope another person will grab the reins, taking over this wild stallion, one who is gainfully employed.

This historical first was a small step for equality, one giant leap... to be determined at a later date.

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