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Keidel: Reaction To Collins’ Announcement Says Infinitely More About Us Than Him

Can We Stop Calling It Revolutionary, And Just Evolutionary?
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Jason Collins (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Jason Collins (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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By Jason Keidel
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Since the Jason Collins story broke, America has split into the “Now what?” and “So what?” crowds.

Thankfully, most have fallen into the former. The New York Times recently ran the following headline regarding Brittney Griner: “Griner Comes Out, and the Sports World Shrugs.”

Indeed.

This is a non-starter. But we can’t anticipate the aggregate weight of political correctness, or the media’s need to build or bash someone based on superficial data.

Only you can decide which irritates you more — the ignorance of homophobia or those who are breaking their duplicitous backs pretending that they never cracked a gay joke in 1985. (Remember those Eddie Murphy routines you found so funny?)

If I hear one more person say, “I work with a gay man and I treat him just like anyone else…”

Want a biscuit? A medal? A gold star?

Many of us weren’t as accepting 25 years ago. It’s called progress. Can we stop calling it revolutionary, and just evolutionary?

Everyone is so busy jostling to sound like “The Most Enlightened Man in the World” that they miss the truth. In our infinite narcissism we forget that Griner just announced that she’s a lesbian, or that John Amaeche announced that he’s gay, or that Martina Navratilova bashed through the closet over 30 years ago.

Just think of all the qualifiers that come with Collins’ declaration as the first active player in America’s four major team sports to publicly assert that he’s gay. We’re so swathed in self-absorption that we think that if it hasn’t happened in the NBA or NFL, then it obviously hasn’t happened anywhere. Maybe we’re better off remaining dumb jocks, because every time we think too hard others get a headache.

Collins caught my attention a decade ago when he said William Faulkner was his favorite writer. In an increasingly illiterate society where the world is framed in 140 characters, it now takes a literary dweeb to even know who Faulkner is, much less his place as perhaps the greatest writer of the 20th Century.

Collins was an intelligent, thoughtful young man before his announcement. Nothing has changed, other than the fact that we know more about him than we did two days ago. The reaction to his announcement says infinitely more about us than him.

Not one of my friends called, texted or emailed me about this story. Tim Tebow meant way more to them than the Collins deal did. And that’s a good thing. Maybe you had to grow up in NYC to realize that the cultural canvas has stretched to cover a kaleidoscope of colors, religions and preferences.

Or maybe you don’t care who Collins is or with whom he sleeps. That’s OK, too. Just be who you are and Collins will be who he is, which was pretty special long before he was anointed.

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