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Is Major League Sports really Progressing?

May 10th, 2013 · No Comments

Okay, I know that the “Powers-to-Be” would put it down entirely to not wanting to run up against the three-day Gorge-uh-Thon of this year’s NFL Draft, but isn’t it somewhat ironic that upon the day that should have solely been reserved for Jason Collins news about being Gay, instead the National Basketball Association decided to trump this most positive development towards the breaking of a major barrier by smothering it instead with the ridiculous news that their mini Board of Governors had unanimously voted 7-0 to reject Seattle’s bid to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to the Pacific Northwest instead.

And in case you’ve been living under a rock somewhere or haven’t heard yet, 34-year old Washington Wizards seven foot Center Jason Collins announced to the sporting world on Monday, April 29th that he’s Gay, becoming the first current male athlete to openly announce his sexual preference vs. the small smattering of retired Pro-sports athletes to do so.

Even more impressive than Collins Sports Illustrated piece was the immediate positive response from ex-President Bill Clinton, while Collins also received personal calls from the lady simply called ‘O, as in Oprah Whim Frey and some guy named Barack, as in current “Commander-in-chief” President Barack Obama both supporting his decision to publicly come out.

Yet instead of this important story garnering the deserved national media attention, Dr. Stern and his Henchman Mr. Benedict were busy crashing the boards and instead bruising their way to the top of the heap with the announcement that the Clay Bennett led NBA Relocation committee had said ‘Nyet to Chris Hansen’s tender offer to relocate the woeful Sacramento Kings to Seattle…

And I just caught the tail end of I-T, thus missing the actual segment when the irrepressible “Round Mound of Rebound,” aka Sir Charles, nee Charles Barkley in his iconic straight to the point style told NBC Sports Network’s Dan Patrick on the Dan Patrick Show that EVERYBODY in the NBA has played with a Gay athlete.

Even better yet, I thought Barkley’s comment on Collins was oh so succinct, when pointing out how Collins has played on six teams during his NBA career and thus SIX NBA Teams have had a Gay player on its roster…

Charles Barkley: “Everyone Has Had Gay Teammates” in NBA

Yet in one article I’ve perused - and only one article so far that I’ve come across, it rightly points out that Collins isn’t the first active major league sports athlete to come out, as that honour actually belongs to Glenn Burke, who I’ve previously written about on Sportyblog; as Burke, then a budding Major League Baseball star had the audacity of coming out in 1976 before being promptly ran out of the league…

Ousted MLB Soul finally recognized 16 years later…

Thus, its overly sad and pathetic that its taken a further 37-years for a second active player in one of the Big Four sporting leagues, i.e.; NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL to come out, which seemingly speaks volumes over how Homophobic these bastions of Professional Sports are, or at least the leaders of said leagues…

Yet supposedly controversial Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has stated he’d be perfectly willing to employ a Gay player upon his NBA Franchise, and thus Mr. Cuban, here’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is by signing Collins to a Free Agent contract for next season, as previously Cuban made headlines by saying he’d have liked to have taken the WNBA’s Number One Draft Pick Brittney Griner to become the first female to play in the NBA.

Thus, perhaps unknowingly Cuban would have killed the proverbial “Two byrds with One Stone” after Griner, drafted by the Woman’s National Basketball Association’s Phoenix Mercury came out announcing that she was a Lesbian which seemingly garnered extremely little fanfare, and was for all practical purposes a Non-story - which begs the question why is a male’s coming out so much more sensational than a female’s? Or better yet why is female Homosexuality tolerated so much better?

Yet kudos to Griner for taking a public stands by not only declaring her Homosexuality but promoting the “It Get’s better” initiative.

And while I applaud the steps some of the major professional leagues are taking, most notably the National Hockey League teaming up with the “You Can Play” project along with both the San Francisco 49ers first, then with the reigning MLB World Champion San Francisco Giants following suit - jumping on the It Get’s Better Bandwagon; you certainly have to wonder what type of message it sends to current active professional athletes when the National football League’s two most outspoken and high profile Pro- GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) Gay Rights players, the Baltimore Ravens Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (36) and Minnesota Vikings Punter Chris Kluwe (31) are both waived from their respective teams this season. Not to mention several NFL Franchises having recently been taken to task for asking potential draftees in this year’s draft if they like women?

Thus, as one article I read noted, the real issue to determine if these multi-billion dollar leagues are making progress will be whether or not any of the current 30-NBA (excluding Seattle) teams will pick up Jason Collins next year? Whilst I also say the NFL could help itself out on this position by two of its Franchises picking up the services of both Ayanbadejo and Kluwe and then ultimately having preferably multiple active players come out this fall, along with recent Gay announcee Robbie Rogers becoming an active MLS player.

As Oh, My, FREAKIN’ Gawd, somebody Gay is playing Professional Sports, really? I mean c’mon, isn’t it time to move past this stupidity…

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