|The Collins Twins: Compare the facial|
expressions. Which one looks gay?
The Collins twins are a West Coast version of all those hated Duke basketball players from stable middle class backgrounds who stick around college for four years and learn to play team basketball, then go on to unimpressive NBA careers because they aren't super athletes. Personally, I like the Duke/Stanford model of recruiting athletes who aren't complete thugs and aren't totally out of place at an academic institution, but I'm in a minority.
"[Teammate Jarron] Collins' memory, though, is that Amaechi wasn't just indifferent toward his job, but irritated by it and the pro sports atmosphere. "He just wasn't interested in basketball, period," Collins said. "I never knew someone who just disliked the game. I would say that everyone has different motivations to play the game of basketball. John was very clear that money was his. But it really was like, he didn't like the game. It's kind of hard if you hate it."
And what do you know? The next example of a team sport athlete coming out of the closet turns out to be another NBA big man.
My impression is that Jason Collins isn't a complete fraud like Amaechi was, that Collins is a conscientious professional athlete who worked hard at defense. Despite his height, he was never a shot blocker, but I believe he had good fundamentals on defense.
But he's still terrible at this stage in his career.
Basketball-Reference has a handy "Per 36 minutes" section that projects out how well he would have done if he'd been allowed to play full time (and had not gotten tired or fouled out). Collins' 2012-13 per 36 minute stats are some of the worst I've ever seen. If he'd played 36 minutes per game, the seven-footer would have averaged 3.8 points per game, 5.6 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.9 blocks, and 8.0 personal fouls. His field goal percentage was .310!
Nate Silver, who isn't exactly unbiased, writes in the New York Times:
In some ways, that makes Mr. Collins’s decision to come out much braver. He would hardly have been guaranteed a job next year, regardless of his sexual orientation. If N.B.A. teams discriminate against him at all for being gay, that could keep him on the sidelines.
when i was younger i didn't get this at first, and chuckled along when [ESPN] clowned players like [shawn] bradley. then after a while, i started to get it, and noticed they never ridiculed the goofy, clumsy, or just plain bad black players with nearly as much verve or ardor. and there are a lot of them. they screw up all the time too or have terrible careers. and the sports guys simply ignore it most of the time.
i remember during some of bradley's later seasons, there were these twins in the league, jason collins and jarron collins, who were pure crap. yet they were 25 minute a game starters at center, and not one time ever were they clowned by ESPN or any sports writers. these two guys turned in a few seasons where they were playing 30 minutes a game and scoring 4 points or something ridiculous, the way erick dampier was for a couple years.
The first relative I came out to was my aunt Teri, a superior court judge in San Francisco. Her reaction surprised me. "I've known you were gay for years," she said....
It was around this time that I began noticing subtle differences between Jarron and me. Our twinness was no longer synchronized. I couldn't identify with his attraction to girls. ...
I didn't come out to my brother until last summer. His reaction to my breakfast revelation was radically different from Aunt Teri's. He was downright astounded. He never suspected. So much for twin telepathy.
By the way, a half-dozen years ago I put up a post about Where are all the famous gay oldtime baseball players? After all, there is a vast literature devoted to the history of baseball, and yet few examples of old timers who turned out to be gay. A number of commenters wrote in to point out that everybody knows that a certain well-known hitter who is not quite a Hall of Famer (but was really good) is gay. This bon vivant was a media favorite during his long baseball career for his manners, charm, and superb taste in fine dining. In other words, he was an exemplar of some stereotypically gay virtues. But, he was not subject to many gay rumors, however, because most of the gay rumors are started by gays as sex fantasies, and this ballplayer was always a little on the plump side.
P.S., a commenter points out that Jason Collins still scores a zero on my Google Gaydar system of using Google's search prompts to see if anybody had been searching to see if he was gay. (Granted there are several Jason Collins out there, but the first prompt was NBA so he's the most prominent.) He's the kind of nice young gay man who doesn't loom large in gay fantasies.
By the way, I was recently cited as an authority on the TV show Red Eye by guest Gavin McInnes as the authority on the lack of gays among male golfers. Gavin slightly overstated my findings in saying there are "no" gay male golfers, but it is clear that in golf gay men are as rare, both at the professional and at the enthusiastic hobbyist level, as lesbians are common. As I pointed out in "Why Lesbians Aren't Gay" way back in 1994:
In roughly half the traits, homosexuals tend to more resemble the opposite sex than they do the rest of their own sex. For example, many heterosexual men and lesbian women are enthusiasts for golf, as well as other hit-a-ball-with-a-stick games like softball and pool. Lesbian-feminist sportswriter Mariah Burton Nelson recently estimated, not implausibly, that 30% of the Ladies Professional Golf Association women touring pros were lesbians. While such estimates are hard to verify, it's clear that the marketers at the LPGA desperately wish they had more mothers-of-three like Nancy Lopez, the most popular woman golfer ever: i.e., a victorious yet still feminine champion with whom other heterosexual women enjoy identifying.
In contrast, pre-menopausal straight women and gay men typically find golf pointless. For example, despite incessant socialization toward golf, only one out of nine wives of PGA touring pros plays golf herself! And gay male golf fanatics are so rare that it's difficult to even come up with an exception that proves this rule (which might explain why golfers wear those god-awful pants).
Among famous gay male entertainers who are enthusiastic golfers, the only name that comes to mind is Johnny Mathis.
On the other hand, other country club sports, such as tennis (Bill Tilden and Hitler's favorite Baron Gottfried von Cramm) and diving (Greg Louganis), have gay male legends. I would hardly be surprised if the gay percentage in men's golf isn't at least as high as in baseball, but it's still low.
In summary, the weight of evidence illuminates much about the natures of masculinity and femininity, which are rather things to understand.