Thursday, May 2, 2013

Observations 5.2

I hadn't planned on writing anything about Jason Collins but I find myself needing to. I'm sure you know by now that I can be a passionate sports fan at times so I understand what a historic moment Collins' coming out is. The first out gay athlete in one of the testosterone fueled major sports leagues, and in the NBA at that. With everything that has happened recently in the gay community it's easy to understand why some people might not think of it as a big deal or why others might think the story didn't get the coverage it deserved. There is some truth in both of those thoughts.

What I can't understand, and I'm admittedly treading on very thin ice here, is why some lesbians just can't be happy about it. I had heard some complaints about the coverage a few times when I saw a post in a blog I sometimes read (I'm not going to say which) and decided to say something.

The complaints I heard and the blog post I read said that there is a double standard in, for lack of a better word, out coverage because there have been out lesbian basketball players, soccer players, and golfers for years now. This fact is always followed by the mention of Martina Navratilova. Navratilova is a hero of any gay athlete of any age, including field hockey players, but she played tennis and not a team sport. Also always mentioned is Brittney Griner who recently came out with very little coverage. Griner was the WNBA's number one draft pick this year but the WNBA is far from a major league and wouldn't exist without the NBA.

The Collins story shouldn't be about some sort of out coverage double standard but about the stakes for Collins who plays in the highest profile league of all. It's about Sports Illustrated, money, exposure, and most of all whether Collins will have a job next year as an out gay NBA player. To put in the simplest terms it's about the fact that what Collins had to say was heard and heard loudly in every corner of the sports world.

Jason Collins coming out is a historic moment for gays, gay athletes, and for the sports world in general. Saying it's a male sports thing or being totally petty by saying women did it first doesn't help anybody at all but is an attitude that I see surfacing at other times. I just let it bother me this time because so many good things are happening right now. The fact that some of us can't seem to relax and enjoy the moment is the hardest thing of all to understand and I think they should actually talk to Martina Navratilova. She seemed to be the happiest person of all when Jason Collins came out.

As I said I'm on thin ice here. In agreeing with the blog post I mentioned the writer of a comment said all real lesbians think the same. If you don't hear from me for an abnormally long time please send a search party.

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