A Historic Non-Event

Jack Hamilton marks Jason Collins’ momentary return to the NBA:

Years from now memories and box scores will attest that Collins entered that game and was the best thing anyone could hope for:

He was himself. He was himself without any hint of incident, turmoil, or gawky spectacle. In the aftermath of his coming out last spring, the vast majority of NBA players voiced strong support for their friend and co-worker, but that landmark Sports Illustrated cover also provoked its share of ugliness. Certain members of the media howled about how they could care less about Collins’ sexuality, and shame on all of us for turning Collins into a “hero” since sexual preference (suddenly) mattered so little to them (that is, straight dudes). As we’ve seen repeated in the wake of Michael Sam’s announcement, there were passive-aggressive grumblings about “distraction”: Hey, I’m not saying it’d bother me, just the guys who work with me, even though they’re saying the opposite. There were no “distractions” last night—Brooklyn came away with a victory—and no one was unduly concerned with sexuality, outside of the energized anticipation of seeing a brave and important person make history.

Update from a reader:

Taking nothing away from Jason Collins, but he wasn’t the first active player of a major American sport to come out; Glenn Burke was (Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland As from 1976 to 1979 ). He was out to his team, family and the front office of the Dodgers. He even talked to reporters about it. But they wouldn’t print it.