Sports

KCBS Sports Fans: Jason Collins, Michael Sam Sagas May Herald The New Ordinary

View Comments
Jason Collins

Jason Collins of the Brooklyn Nets is defended by Chris Kaman of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on February 23, 2014. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

StanBunger01-370 Stan Bunger
KCBS Morning Anchor Stan Bunger is a Bay Area native who has been...
Read More

KCBS News Anchor Stan Bunger (who along with KCBS Sports Anchor Steve Bitker are the on-air duo known as KCBS Sports Fans) offers his unique sports analysis.   

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – One athlete came off the bench to nearly foul out while scoring zero points in 10 minutes of playing time in an NBA game.

The other wasn’t even playing a game; he’d shown up for the increasingly-weird spectacle known as the NFL Scouting Combine.

Yet both Jason Collins and Michael Sam made history over the weekend. Now, let’s hope what they represent becomes ordinary enough that it’s unremarkable. Let’s hope the phrase “first openly-gay” is only attached to their names in history books.

Neither man shrinks from who he is; both went out of their way to tell the world about their sexual orientation and display full awareness of the weight of their revelations. Neither is a superstar. Collins just signed a 10-day contract to make his first NBA appearance since coming out last summer; Sam had a fine college career but isn’t on anyone’s short list of can’t-miss NFL defensive line prospects.

Are their stories newsworthy? Of course. Has either man been held back by his sexual orientation? Very hard to know; Collins is a journeyman at the tail end of his career while Sam is just starting. There’s certainly no indication that either has suffered for his frankness.

Which leads me to my point: it’ll be nice when whoever the next gay NFL prospect or veteran NBA benchwarmer is doesn’t need to be identified as “openly-gay” any more than he needs to be identified as “tall” or “fast”. 67 years after Jackie Robinson’s debut, do we still need to mention a baseball player’s race? Of course not.

American society isn’t all the way to where it will eventually be on many issues. Race and sexual orientation are among them. But there has been progress, and the truest measure of that will be when Collins and Sam are not so unique.

 

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55,765 other followers