Okay, so here’s how gay I am: before today, I had no idea who Jason Collins was. In fact, when I first saw his name on Facebook, I thought it was a typo for Joan Collins. (To be fair, it was in a post from one of my more glamorous friends, so the immediate image of Alexis Carrington Colby in my mind’s eye was not entirely unreasonable.)
Jason Collins—Stanford graduate, friend of Chelsea Clinton—was, before today, most famous for playing professional basketball. Now he’s even more famous for being the first American athlete in a “major” sport (figure skating, for obvious reasons, doesn’t count) to come out of the closet while still playing. In other words, he’s the most ballsy athlete in the world.
And a remarkably eloquent one, too. (But then again, he did go to Stanford.) His coming-out essay in Sports Illustrated is a must-read. In fact, Jason Collins made me rethink my knee-jerk assumption about the mental capacity of athletes.
But, not to worry: along comes Mike Wallace.
Something else I learned today: there’s another Mike Wallace. This isn’t the crotchety old white guy who used to corner corrupt businessmen and government officials every Sunday on 60 Minutes. No, this Mike Wallace is a wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins. And he’s not quite as articulate as either his namesake or Mr. Collins.
Granted, Twitter doesn’t allow enough characters for most people to be eloquent, but Mike tried his best. After Jason’s coming-out, here’s what he had to say:
“All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH…”
Another thing I learned today: apparently, “SMH” is tweetspeak for “shaking my head.” I wonder if Mike’s rattles when he does that.
The stupidity of this statement boggles my Ivy League brain. Essentially, Mike thinks that the sheer beauty of women—and the fact that, as an athlete, he could have any of them—should be enough to make Jason an avid heterosexual. Who wouldn’t want to sleep with all those beautiful girls?
I wonder if Mike would ask Angelina Jolie this question. Why on earth would Angelina want Brad Pitt when she could have Beyoncé?
And why would Jason want George Clooney when he could have all those Hooters waitresses?
But you can’t expect logic from homophobes. Rationalization, yes. Logic, no way.
For one thing, in the world of most macho homophobes, disgust with homosexuality is pretty one-sided—if the popularity of lesbian porn among straight men tells us anything.
What Mike Wallace truly exemplifies is a complete lack of empathy. I suppose he thinks Jason’s crazy for preferring basketball to football, too. The ability to imagine that there’s another world out there different from his own is apparently beyond him.
But before you start casting aspersions against somebody, it’s a good idea to see if your house is made of glass. I mean, come on, when your job title is “wide receiver,” should you really be making fun of someone else’s sex life?