If you read the comment threads following Jason Collins' op-ed on SportsIllustrated.com, they are seething with resentment and full-on hate. Such a shame. Sounds like many many people are terribly unhappy that the world will no longer allow them to marinate in their ignorance and prejudice. At least not unchallenged.
[SI.com has since removed all the comments from this story. I was not able to find cached versions. If anyone can find them please feel free to repost a link in the comments section. Or SI.com could just restore them so we see the full spectrum of debate.]
To you haters, here is another attempt to deliver a message that you clearly are not getting:
The world has stopped caring what you think. That may feel to you like the gay "agenda" is being pushed in your face -- i.e., that the news is "all gay all the time." But in reality, us gays have just stopped hiding, and most of the world has just stopped caring. Except you.
Jason Collins decided that he's had enough of the hiding, and is finished with indulging your fears and misconceptions. If he wants to go on a date with someone it shouldn't make headlines, but it does if it's a revelation... "Oooh he's out with some guy is he gay?!" If he refuses to go to the strip club it shouldn't raise eyebrows, but it does if no one knows: "Man... is he a gay?" If he wants to settle down and start a family, it should be a happy occasion, not a TMZ media explosion. He just wants to be treated like everyone else and not have to fake it anymore.
Like I said, this all may feel like an imposition on your delicate sensibilities, because you are not used to seeing gay people just being themselves. But the more it happens the less newsworthy it will become, and then the news will be much less "gay," which will ease your mind considerably. So you should encourage as many gay people to come out as possible, as quickly as possible. Get it over with. Rip off the band-aid. This is a bit tautological (look it up), but being gay in pro sports won't ever become unremarkable until enough people come out that it ceases to be remarkable.
In the 1950s the song was the same, "Why is it all black all the time? What do they want? Why can't they just keep to themselves, and why are they such whiners?" And in the 1920s the song was the same, "Why is it all woman all the time? What do they want? What the hell makes them think they should be able to vote? Why are they such whiners?" Hell (quite literally), in the 1840s the song was the same, "What the hell do these evil Catholics want? Why are they even here in my America? Why are they such whiners?"
Cover your ears and keep singing if it makes you feel any better. It's a sad song that gets passed down from one status quo to another, one generation to the next. Issue after issue. Whenever somebody refuses to sit down and shut up, the sound can seem deafening to those who prefer rigid silence.
But Jason Collins has decided that he is not going to fake it any more, just so you can doze in your cocoon of comfortable prejudice. He should not have to fake anything so you can get woozy with your happy manly sports fantasy, sitting on the couch crushing beer cans on your forehead and yelling at the TV. He's playing the game, not you. It's your responsibility to respect him for the man he is... it's not his job to compromise his life and his happiness just because you and a few million other couch potatoes fall short in the tolerance department.
If that upsets you, change the channel. There are plenty of ways you can still preserve your bubble world where no one is publicly gay, and you never hear about it, and it never crosses your path. Though, admittedly, that tiny bubble world is getting smaller all the time. I know it scares you. Sorry, but it can't be helped, because the world is, in fact, moving on -- with or without you.