Collins' decision stirs debate
Jason Collins seems like a nice guy.
And it no doubt took a great deal of courage for him to come out as the first openly gay active male professional athlete, which he did last week with his Sports Illustrated story.
The national media fell all over itself in congratulations for how accepting everyone seemed to be of the big fella.
Who in their right mind, save a few right-wing nuts and religious kooks, would openly come out in this era and say they thought Jason Collins was anything but a hero? That might have meant stoning by the PC crowd.
They would have risked being called a homophobe, which is just as big a cultural taboo as being openly gay used to be.
In our new, enlightened age, we're supposed to throw out, oh, roughly 10,000 years of the way we've been conditioned to think in almost every society on earth because, in the last 50 years or so, the cultural elite have decided that it's wrong to think that way.
Well, pardon us all for following what our ancestors taught us.
Look, if Jason Collins wants to be intimate with other men, that's his business.
But I'm a little tired of people telling me how I have to think about it.
I'll feel the way I damn well want to.
And I'm tired of people like Associated Press columnist Tim Dahlberg, whom I'm usually in agreement with, saying that "somebody in an NBA front office has to give Collins a job next season."
Why, because he's gay? Or because he's 7 feet tall and can go in and give you a couple of fouls a night while your starting big man takes a breather, which has been his role in the league for a dozen years?
Apparently, if no one gives the free agent a job, Collins' announcement will all be for naught and we'll be doomed to another hundred or so years of unenlightened boobs calling him and others like him nasty names.
Look, if Collins were 10 years younger when he came out and the league stonewalled him, he'd have a gripe. Or if he were a little better player.
But he's near the end of his NBA usefulness, and that's all any NBA executive should have to be concerned with.
The comparisons to Jackie Robinson tick me off a little, too.
Collins' announcement was uniformly treated with respect and compassion. When Robinson broke baseball's color barrier in 1947, he was treated with as much hostility as acceptance everywhere he went, at least until he proved himself as a player.
Collins will never, in a thousand years, whether he plays again or not, have to put up with what Robinson did. We have come a long way, no matter what the elite think.
Collins is fortunate to have genes that were good enough to make him 7 feet tall, athletic and smart enough to get a Stanford education. That nice mix has enabled him to earn, according to BasketballReference.com, an estimated $34 million over the past 12 years, all for 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds a game.
By comparison, Robinson, a Hall of Fame baseball player, made $296,250 for his career. Even adjusted for inflation, that wouldn't come to more than $3 or $4 million of today's dollars.
Want even more comparison?
Your humble correspondent would have to work more than 1,200 years to match Collins' career earnings, and Collins has many earning years ahead of him yet.
No, money isn't everything, but it can buy a lot of good will, even if it's phony, and it can buy you privacy.
So yeah, I admire Collins for his courage and honesty.
But pardon me if I'm not exactly ready to nominate him for sainthood yet.