Sunday, February 23, 2014

It's happened

When an NBA team with a losing record announces they're signing a 12-year veteran (who has averaged 3.6 points per game over his career) to a ten day contract just prior to playing a Sunday evening game against a team with a worse record, such a transaction is hardly noteworthy.

However, there is one notable exception.

Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete in North America's four major professional sports Sunday, signing a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets.

Collins checked in with 10:28 to go in the second quarter and received a round of applause from the Staples Center crowd.

"Sometimes in life something happens and there's an opportunity," he said shortly before taking on the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday night. "I'm very thankful for this opportunity. That's why I work so hard, why I train the way I do so that when I do have an opportunity physically I'm not worried about my conditioning or cardio or anything along those lines."

We all knew an announcement of this kind was going to happen sooner than later, given the environment is so ripe. One big reason is that any moral objections to homosexuality in this day and age are often met with swift repudiation and condemnation. On the other hand, if an individual involved in a high profile profession (e.g. sports, entertainment, etc.) professes his/her homosexuality, they're sometimes given the type of adulation that may likely be reserved for someone finding a cure for cancer (if nothing else, they could be a guest of the First Lady to a State of the Union Address).

All that said, I'm not denying this is an historic event. No question it is. But now that it's happened, I'm hoping we no longer have to endure press conferences to announce how a professional athlete lives his private life.

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