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Let me start by clarifying the hint of sarcasm in the title. When Jason Collins came out last year, he was the first active male athlete in a major US team sport to do so. That is big huge news, there's no other way to say it. So what was the alphabet network's response to that? Push that news out of the frontpage as long as it can, replacing the headlines with Tebow being cut by the Jets (oh the irony!), then give notably anti-gay Broussard the platform so that he can increase ratings. I heftily wrote about that last year if you would like to refresh your memory.

This is the environment in US sports. To be fair, any cultural change is countered with resistance anywhere in the world, and a testosterone-dominated field is not expected to behave differently. However, the problem is that major networks love flogging a dead horse when it comes to the question of whether a gay player can co-exist with non-gays in a locker room. Statistically, any person who frequents a gym has been with an LGBTQ member in a locker room, and as many people's high school experience might tell, it is the non-LGBTQ members who disrupt the harmony by bullying, calling names etc. That was once again demonstrated in the case of Michael Sam, and I'll let Dale Hansen explain why this news culture is outright ridiculous.

So, back to Collins. I've had two reasons (obviously) to like the Nets this season, and that they signed Collins has been the third one. I believe the Nets was one of the best destinations for Collins to land as the team has an overwhelming veteran presence (hey, I've found a euphemism for "they are frigging old!"), and NYC is one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the US. So it is not surprising that Collins's signing has been all about business within the Nets organization. However, one cannot simply assume that the rest of the league will follow suit:

He was tested once during his first month with the Brooklyn Nets, although the NBA’s first openly gay player understandably doesn’t want to give attention to the “knucklehead” or his comments. After all, most everything else about his groundbreaking experience on the court and in the locker room has been positive. And Collins handled the negativity like he anticipated with a silent disregard.

“One player, one knucklehead from another team,” Collins said in an interview with the Daily News. “He’s a knucklehead. So I just let it go. Again, that goes back to controlling what you can control. That’s how I conduct myself just being professional.”

Source: Stefan Bondy, NYDN

Well, as I have mentioned above, one cannot expect this to not happen, yet I immensely respect Collins for how he has handled the issue so far. As for the knucklehead, well, the NBA has no scarcity in that department, so who knows? I think it's best to single him out but not name names. Let him do some thinking(?).

Oh, by the way, in case you were curious: The Nets have resurrected in 2014, and until they signed Collins, their record was 15-6 (.714). Their record after signing Collins? 10-3 (.769) as they beat the Heat, the Bulls and the Raptors. He has clearly disrupted locker room harmony.
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semioticus (shelbyl) 3/21/2014 12:03:00 PM Edit
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