NBA Center Jason Collins sets the stage, and a wonderful example, for gay athletes

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It’s not a baseball story, but some sports stories are so significant that we’d be remiss in not noting them. This is one of them: veteran NBA center Jason Collins has come out as gay in a wonderful, eloquent and uplifting Sports Illustrated column. You owe it to yourself to read his words on the matter.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has issued a statement of support, as have multiple NBA coaches and players from Doc Rivers to Kobe Bryant on down. There have already been and will be comments from bigots, homophobes and simple, pathetic provocateurs as well. They’ll be discredited, mocked and ultimately pitied in pretty short and overwhelming order if they haven’t already have been. We’re in a very different world now than even a decade ago, thankfully.

Those folks aside, I’m particularly struck by Stern’s use of the world “family” in his statement. While we all know that sports are a business and a quite often ruthless meritocracy, when it comes to the off-the-field and off-the-court human interactions, it makes eminent sense that people within sports, who know what one another are up against all the time in ways that none of us on the outside ever could, treat one another with the decency of a good, loving and strong family.

Today this is a basketball story. In the coming years this story will inevitably play its way out through football, hockey, soccer and baseball as well. When it does, Collins will be the touchstone, and his brave example and honest words will the ones that set the stage for and provide comfort and guidance to other gay athletes seeking to live their lives and play their sports outside of the closet.

Congratulations to Jason Collins for his bravery, his example, his humor and his class.

Carlos Gomez gets ejected, rips umpire in Twitter rant

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Carlos Gomez entered the Rays-Blue Jays game as a pinch hitter last night, struck out looking and was ejected because he argued the call. But though his time in the game was quickly over, his evening was just beginning.

Gomez didn’t even wait for the game to end before taking to Twitter to rip home plate umpire Andy Fletcher First thing he did was post video of himself being called out on strikes, saying “the only job they have is to call balls and strikes. Do you guys think that pitch is a strike?

He went on:

And more, saying that if he kept showing these he’d find ten more pitches like this called strikes that, he believes, were balls:

He also believes that strikes thrown by Rays pitchers were balls:

There were other tweets that he subsequently deleted, but when he got back to his hotel room, he posted a six-minute-long video apologizing for some of those posts, saying “I made a mistake” — it’s not clear what it was he had deleted or what he was mistaken about — but then he went on to say that Fletcher was “brutal” and that he was not doing his job, claiming that if you watched more video of the game you’d see that Fletcher missed more than 30 pitches.

You get ejected for arguing balls and strikes in this league. You get fined for saying bad things about umpires after a game. My guess is that saying LOTS of bad things about umpires after a game, along with video evidence publicly criticizing them, you’re gonna get a BIG, BIG fine and, possibly, a suspension.

Hope that all made you feel better, though, Carlos!