Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

May 3, 2013

Morgan: Why should I care?

By Ron Morgan
Daily Sun Sports columnist

Corsicana — There was huge news in the world of sports this week — an NBA player came out as gay.

Jason Collins, most recently with the Washington Wizards announced to the world that he was gay.

I was shocked. I mean, really, who knew? I certainly didn’t. I didn’t think the Washington Wizards were still in the NBA. I know that they have never been able to beat the Globetrotters.

This was big news?

Really?

Who cares? From the media attention you’d think that Jason Collins had found a cure for psoriasis or had won at Power Ball. Why should I care if he’s gay or straight? My concern about Jason Collins would begin and end with him winding up playing for Mark Cuban. At that point, I don’t want to know about his sexual preference. I want to know if the 7-footer can defend the basket and rebound.  

Personally, I think that it was a ploy to get a contract for the 2013-14 season. You see, Collins is a free agent. He has played for six teams over 12 seasons. His best season, he averaged less than six points per game. Last season was split between Boston and Washington. For the season, he totaled 41 points. In other words, as a free agent, he won’t be the second coming of Lebron James. The line for his services won’t be very long.

At least until now, that is. After his historic announcement, teams may feel pressured to try to sign Collins to show that they aren’t homophobic. I think it’s a brilliant strategy. A guy with few prospects of remaining in the league may have just cemented a spot on an NBA roster. I don’t blame him. It’s a job, and he can do anything he wants to keep it.

Why has the media been in such a frenzy over the announcement? Well, for one thing, he’s the first active player in a major league sport to come out as gay. There have been other gay players in various sports, but they came out after their playing days were done.

Do the media think he might be bullied? At 7-feet and 250 lbs., I seriously doubt that. Besides, bullying just happens to be the national malady of the day (alongside childhood obesity). We go through cycles of maladies, and bullying and childhood obesity are the “maladies du jour.” Does anyone really believe that bullies and fat kids are a new phenomenon? There have always been bullies, and I recall several fat kids back in the day. In fact, if you honestly deal with it, everyone has been bullied at one time or another, just as everyone has bullied someone at some point. It’s called a pecking order. You get pecked by those above you (and there is always someone above you), and you peck those below you.  

Do you remember David and Goliath? That was bullying. The only difference would be that today, David would be a fat kid who had to take down Goliath with a no high fructose corn syrup, lactose free snack (perhaps a carrot) instead of a smooth rock. A fat David in biblical times would have been his own fault. Today, it would be the fault of McDonald’s and Big Gulps oversizing the young shepherd.

I’m not sure that NBA insiders were surprised. I mean, how many other NBA players can you name who don’t have a plethora (hey, if Dick Platt can use the word, so can I.) of illegitimate kids? I’m not sure that this was courageous. Courageous would come closer to describing both gays and straights in the military who rely and are relied on by comrades in arms in dangerous situations.

Would it be different if it had been Dirk coming out? Of course not. What I would want to know is what he can contribute to the Mavs. If Lebron turns out to be a gay, bi-polar freemason who wants to come to Dallas, I say we welcome him with open arms.

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Ron Morgan is a Daily Sun sports columnist. His column appears on Saturdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com