Detour from Basketball, I know. But bare with me as this is a big issue. I’m taking time out from my birthday to write this so you could take a few minutes out to read it.
Today, Jason Collins came out as the first gay athlete in the Major American sports. It shouldn’t be an issue, but it is, because we’re stilling learning how to be accepting while still having our own beliefs. I want to preface this with the fact I am not religious and I believe that homosexual love is just as awesome as heterosexual love. Equal beings.
Mark Jackson commented on his coming out. He said:
As a Christian man, I serve a god who gives you free will to be who you want to be… As a Christian man, I have beliefs of what’s right and what’s wrong. That being said, I know Jason Collins…. I know his family. I’m certainly praying for them at this time.”
All of a sudden Twitter outcried with accusations of homophobia and ignorance. That’s just insulting to who Mark Jackson as a person. He has his beliefs and none of us has the RIGHT to tell him that he can’t. That sentence showed an understanding and acceptance of who Collins is as a person, but also stated that his sexuality was against what he understood to be right and wrong. He didn’t state he thought less of him as a person or that he hated what he was, just that his beliefs defined what he believed was right or wrong. I think a lot of things people do are wrong (homosexuality is not one of them) but I love them regardless. Jackson is a loving man, and he would unconditionally accept Collins as a person and treat him no differently, even if he didn’t agree with his lifestyle choice. When asked if he’d have him on the team, it wasn’t a no or a yes, it was simply that his skill as a basketball player would define that choice and rightly so!
People have also stated Mark Jackson was praying for his soul, or something stupid like that. Sure, he might be praying for Collins’ clarity, but in the same breath, that clarity would just allow Collins to chose what is best for him. Jackson was praying for them to deal with a stressful time, a time where there will be a lot said and a lot of it directed at Collins and his family who will need the strength to cope.
After New Zealand passed the Marriage Equality Amendment, I was over the moon. The right way to legislate equality is to leave all opinions out of the mix and just put everyone on an equal footing. The United States should take note, that it’s not up to your beliefs to dictate what a man can and can not do. For example, Chris Broussard while he was appearing on OTL. He openly judged and condemned Collins in a way that made it clear Collins could not have a relationship with Christianity. Jackson asserted his beliefs, Broussard forced them on Collins. What they said and did were opposite ends of tolerance.
That’s all I have to say really, as I want to go and celebrate my birthday. Please be tolerant of people, no matter their beliefs or sexuality. We’re all going to disagree, but it doesn’t mean we can’t love one and other. We can be equal as people if everyone just accepts what the other has chosen and doesn’t try to stop them living their lives.