It's only a short step from "don't cry like a girl" and "don't be a bitch" to "women are inferior." These assumptions and connections, part of what many are calling "toxic masculinity," enable violence against gay (or "effeminate" men) and violence against women alike.
If these are just football matters, why are we seeing all the headlines about these men being cut for supporting gays and lesbians? It's simple: Because people still want to believe that the NFL hates gay people.
When Jason Collins decided to reveal the life he'd kept secret for so long, Harris, Dean, James Baldwin before them, and many other literary figures had already been on set, prepping the scene, readying our minds for what's to come.
Think about it: if coming out as an ally and publicly supporting equality is considered a "distraction," how will an NFL team react to the avalanche of media attention, accolades, hate mail, death threats, etc. when an active player actually comes out as gay?
Sport is meant to be our national forum for tolerance and equality. Treating gay people differently implies that being gay is abnormal! Does anyone still believe that the Earth is flat? Or that the Mets have a shot at the playoffs in 2013?
As a gay sports fan, I have a simple message for any athlete who is ready to come out: We got you. I hope you are listening, because the LGBT sports-loving community has been waiting for this for a long time and we are ready to battle for you.
Valentine's Day traditionally brings several pages in newspaper classified sections featuring tiny black hearts followed by romantic messages. Perhaps it's a blessing that print editions are dying -- there's something creepy about all those black hearts, as if they bear a curse.