Jason Collins is gay, but can he play in the NBA?

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Jason Collins is gay, but unless I’m looking for a date on a Friday night and he’s my type, do I really care?

via sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Collins ignited a media frenzy when he appeared in an NBA game as the first openly gay player in league history.

At the risk of being naive, I have to wonder why this is such a major story. It was much more important news when movie star Ellen Page came out. After all, she’s not an over-the-hill journeyman returning to acting after a career that can be described, at best, as pedestrian.

The idea that gay men playing in major sports is historic is, putting it lightly, ridiculous. When Martina Navratilova was winning one Grand Slam after another, her sexual preference was a not an issue, and it was certainly never a doubt.

When Collins was signed by Brooklyn, one national reporter called it “purely a basketball move.” Seriously? Why else would the Nets add Collins to their roster? Was the reporter hinting that having a gay player on your team might be a new NBA promotion? I can see the billboards now: “Don’t miss the Brooklyn Nets — home of the NBA’s only gay center.”

Of course, this was a basketball move. Brooklyn needs front court help, and Collins is a big man, who has played seven seasons with the Nets and 13 in the NBA. He was signed to a 10-day contract, so Brooklyn has very little to risk.

Of course, Collins likely won’t last far beyond those 10 days (he’s old and has never been very productive). I wonder how historic it will be when Jason Collins becomes the first openly-gay NBA player to be waived by his team.

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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