FanPost

Signing Jason Collins IS a Big Deal (Please Read)

I'm considerably older than most NetsDaily Fans and began studying discrimination 50 years ago, when I was an 8th grader in high school. One of the things i learned during my studies is people are the same, with the same goals and desires. It is the act and process of discrimination, which makes us look at a group of people as "different." That's not to say the people who are upset about the attention the Collins signing is getting are homophobes or anti-gay, it's just they just don't recognize or understand the connection to their own lives.

The excitement for gays and what makes it a big deal is Collins is doing something most gay people, men and women, want so badly to do, but still find difficult: openly acknowledge their sexuality. It's that he's carrying the hopes, dreams and aspirations of so many gays onto the court with him that makes this a newsworthy event. The joy, pride and excitement of gay Americans is the exact same felt by members of other groups many years ago. "People are the same and do the same things for the same reasons" - anthropologist Marvin Harris.

At one time or another, people in other groups had cross this same bridge, to send one of their own out into the broader world to show they could stand as competent equals to everybody else. For most of those groups, that event happened so long ago, the young people have little or no knowledge of it. I can remember, as a small boy in the 1950s, the . hexcitement that ran thru the neighborhood when a black person was on tv. Everything and everybody stopped to watch. JET magazine used to list all the appearances of black people on tv, for the coming week. The list didn't even fill one of their small pages. I can imagine Hispanics, Puerto Ricans in New York and Mexicans in Los Angeles, having the same reaction to seeing one of their own on rv in that time period.

It wasn't just minorities, as we think of them, Italians followed Joe DiMaggio and Rock Marciano in the 1940s, for the same reasons black Americans followed Jackie Robinson, just with not as much was riding on whether they succeeded. Jewish Americans followed the career of Baseball player, Hank Greenberg with much zeal in the 1930s and 1940s. He was called the first Jewish superstar in American sports. We just experienced a phenomenon called "Linsanity" involving a Chinese American basketball player and the Chinese community. I twill continue to happen, because people are the same, wirh the same needs.

Jason Collins and Michael Sam leading the way for gay athletes to be themselves and still participate openly and equally for jobs and playing time in professional sports. That IS a big deal and it means, someday a young gay fan will complain about all the fuss being made over some athlete from another group breaking a barrier in sports.

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