Washington Wizards center Jason Collins has come out as America’s first openly gay athlete to play on a major professional team.
A move that prompted President Barack Obama to call the NBA player Monday to “express his support” and tell him “he was impressed by his courage,” according to the Huffington Post.
Granted, when al Qaeda attacked the American consulate in Benghazi, Obama’s phone lay quietly next to the bed as he slept. Four American citizens, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens, would eventually die in that attack.
In a Sports Illustrated article due out May 6, Collins wrote: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”
In explaining why he stepped forward, he added:
“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”
While he is no Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in Major League Baseball, it did take some courage for Collins to come out.
Granted, at his age, Collins is clearly at the end of his NBA career, and it could be argued that coming out now may in fact prolong his career by a year or two, since any team may be reluctant to cut the first openly gay player. Then there’s the risk of being sued for discrimination.
A journeyman who has played for six teams, Collins is currently a free agent.
Nonetheless, some did admire Collins’ willingness to go where no one has been willing to go before in professional team sports.
Yet, others just couldn’t leave well enough alone.
As others celebrated Collins’ decision, even calling him a “hero,” Ben Shapiro from Breitbart.com mocked such commentary on Twitter:
Naturally, Collins’ supporters took exception and were quick to point out that Shapiro has used the “hero” label quite liberally (pardon the pun) in the past.
There was one instance, for example, when he called conservative radio host Mark Levin a hero for discussing bullying. On another occasion, he called Newt Gingrich a hero for comments he made about Palestinians. He even used the word to describe Sen. Ted Cruz and comedian Adam Corolla.
You get the point.
And we on the right wonder why Democrats are so effective at pushing wedge issues.
At some point, conservatives have got to stop playing into the hands of the progressive left, which lives for opportunities to divide us as a people. At least, if the desire to have a president who knows what leadership is about is really important.
All in all, a respectful acknowledgement of what was likely a tough decision for Collins is not asking too much here.
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