Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lightning Round -- 043013

Quick thoughts. That's what we have.
  • Is it possible to think that the "I'm gay" announcement of Jason Collins is simultaneously (a) useful and (b) not nearly as courageous as people claim it to be? Anyone who follows sports beyond the superficial level knows the history of gay athletes in American sport -- they've been there forever, but they haven't made their sexuality public. I'm old enough to remember Dave Kopay, a running back who had a cup of coffee with the Packers in the early 70s. I also remember baseball's Billy Bean and the NBA's John Amaechi, all of whom came out after their careers were over. The only thing that really matters in sport is whether or not you can perform on the playing surface and that part hasn't changed. As for courage, watching the encomia that have been given to Collins from just about everyone in the sports world, and the fury that was unleashed on Mike Wallace and Chris Broussard for objecting, I'd say courage wasn't really required. The bandwagon is a juggernaut at this point. Be sure to check out the official reaction of the Miami Dolphins to what Wallace tweeted.
  • I know we're not supposed to care about Benghazi any more, but I think Darrell Issa is doing good work. If nothing else, he's helping to clarify the difference between a whistleblower and a snitch.
  • The Minnesota House knows what's good for you.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please check your spelling. I think you mean "encoMia"

First Ringer said...

D,

On Collins - I think it; you say it.

Given the direction of the cultural and political winds, it's hard for me to shed some cynicism in Collins' decision. Collins, conventional wisdom is telling us, may get big endorsement deals out of his announcement. For a forgettable, currently out-of-work NBA center, declaring you're gay may be better than having an All-Star caliber season.

The timing with the release of the movie '42' seems indicative of how some want to make the issue of gay marriage an equivalent civil rights issue. Compare the reaction Jackie Robinson received to what Jason Collins is getting and the use of the word "courage" seems trite.

In all, it has to be a little insulting - especially to older members of the gay community - to see Collins' professional life potentially now defined simply by his sexuality. The willingness to embrace Collins despite his sexual preference is great, but the merits of his performance look as though they will forever take a back seat to his orientation. That seems more negative than positive over the long haul.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

For my part, I read an article on Steph Curry last night. I don't know what he does in bed, but he's pretty amazing on the court.

Anonymous said...

That wasn't Darrell Issa. That was Jon Hamm.

Mr. D said...

Yes, anon, I do mean "encomia." Thx.

Brian said...

That sound you heard yesterday morning was a third of the WNBA clearing their throats...

The willingness to embrace Collins despite his sexual preference is great, but the merits of his performance look as though they will forever take a back seat to his orientation. That seems more negative than positive over the long haul.

Don't you think that might be one reason (among several) that everyone else has been reluctant to be the "historic first" out of the closet?

R.A. Crankbait said...

ESPN coverage was fixated on two men yesterday, Jason Collins and Tim Tebow (though I don't believe the network made any comparisons between them). On another site I noted that both represent controversial issues, yet only one is being called courageous.

Elsewhere, the owner of Hell's Kitchen (one of my favorite restaurants) wrote a rant to the Strib protesting the blatant discrimination by the Vikings against Chris Kluwwe because of his outspoken stand in favor of same-sex marriage (even though Kluwwe hasn't actually been cut yet). While I noted on HK's FB feed that Kluwwe was mediocre in every statistical category and that the million bucks difference between his salary and rookie's could help the team be more competitive, I also asked if having the courage of one's convictions didn't suggest an element of risk in doing so.

The convenience of one's convictions - now that's another thing.

Mr. D said...

That sound you heard yesterday morning was a third of the WNBA clearing their throats...

No kidding. I'll bet that they are thrilled to find out they are an afterthought.

Bike Bubba said...

Brian; seeing Collins' outing as negative for all possibly gay NBA players would presume that all of those there (data suggest about ten might be in the league now) are on the outs with the league, no?

I'm with FirstRinger here. He's got a tremendous amount of publicity to make on a career that's clearly on the decline right now, if it's not over. So it might not be as courageous as one would think.

And hey--the WNBA does happen to be an afterthought, no? It's simply not the same game as you'll see in the NBA, or even a D1 men's team.

Brian said...

@ Bubba--Huh?

I was just suggesting that a player might be reluctant to be the first out (in part) b/c THAT's what he'd be remembered for, rather than his accomplishments on the court.

(I have no idea how good a player Mr. Collins is. I don't really watch the NBA.)

Mr. D said...

(I have no idea how good a player Mr. Collins is. I don't really watch the NBA.)

He's had a long career, but he's never been more than a journeyman at best. His greatest attribute is that he's 7 feet tall. It's a great country if you're 7 feet tall and have some athletic ability.