Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 4/30/13
The biggest story in the sports world this week is not Tim Tebow getting cut by the Jets, no matter how much ESPN tries to convince us of the contrary.In fact, this week's biggest sports story doesn't even come from the NFL. Rather, it's the NBA that's making headlines on a global level.In the upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated, NBA Center, Jason Collins, announces his homosexuality.The opening line of that SI Story, which is written by Collins, proudly states "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay." Collins is the first active, professional athlete from one of the four major sports in America (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) to come out of the closet. Many retired players have announced they were gay, but waited to do so until their playing days were over. After hearing about the Collins article, NBA Players immediately chimed in, all very supportive:Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 29, 2013The time has come. Maximum respect. RT @baron_davis: I am so proud of my bro @jasoncollins34 for being real. ... tmi.me/TGSBh— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) April 29, 2013Even President Bill Clinton sent out a tweet in support:I'm proud to call Jason Collins a friend. wjcf.co/154piCi— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) April 29, 2013And then there was Mike Wallace.Fresh off his $60 million contract with the Miami Dolphins, Wallace took to twitter to publicly express his thoughts on gay people. Wallace is perhaps THE only athlete to respond to the Collins article with anti-gay remarks. Of course Wallace quickly deleted the tweet after the Miami PR Team got a hold of him, but here's what it said:"All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH"Wallace later sent out this tweet (again, likely forced by the Dolphins: Clearly there is absolutely NO logic (let alone compassion) in his original statement (take what you will from the forced apology). Wallace's thought process is not only stunted by ignorance but even his "apology" shows a lack of maturity and understanding of the situation. Here's a quick example of Mike Wallace's mentality/rationale:Vanilla ice cream is delicious and there is plenty of it. Therefore people should only eat Vanilla ice cream.Well screw that, maybe everyone doesn't like vanilla ice cream. Maybe people want Chocolate, or Cookie Dough, or Banana Oreo. Everyone has their own taste buds and are allowed to eat the kind of ice cream that makes them the happiest, the flavor they enjoy the most.Former 49ers and Raiders Offensive Tackle, Kwame Harris, recently told the world he is gay, but did so after he retired. Harris is just one of a handful of former NFL players to come out, all of which did so after they stopped playing.There are gay players in Professional Football. That's a fact. But since it's not yet widley accepted, in some lockerooms, among some fans, and who knows, maybe even some coaches or owners, players choose to stay in the closet. Until the NFL and its players start accepting the reality of having gay teammates, homosexual players will keep their sexual orientation a secret. And that shouldn't be the status quo.How can the league change that? Start punishing the Gay Bashing Bullies by handing out fines. The NFL fines players for dangerous tackling in order to prevent concussions. It should do the same for anti-gay comments, both of which are damaging to a player’s head. But what about the 1st Amendment. What about Freedom of Speech? The NFL is perfectly capable of making and enforcing their own rules. Adderall is a legal drug, but illegal according to the NFL Substance Abuse policy. Touchdown celebrations are a form of expression, but the NFL had no problem laying down the law on how players can and cannot celebrate.  Think fining players is too harsh?Imagine the harshness of not being able to express or act like your true self in front of your friends, co-workers, and employers.
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