Jason Collins came out of the closet on his own terms Monday, opening the door for other athletes to do the same if they choose.
The Sports Illustrated revelation is possibly the biggest cultural story in major team sports in years because a male in one of the major American team sports has acknowledged being gay.
It’s not shocking that there are gay athletes in major team sports — that’s always been a safe assumption — but the news was still powerful, not because of how it was announced, but because it finally happened.
In a year where NFL players Brendon Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe have been outspoken on the issue of gay acceptance, it was bound to happen. Now that the door has opened, the next question is who will be the first sports megastar to come out?
With all due respect to Collins and the courage it took to come out, he’s a role player who has never averaged more than seven points a game in his 12 NBA seasons. One has to wonder how long it will take before an all-star in the NFL, MLB, NHL or NBA — with million-dollar endorsement deals — steps out of the shadows.
THE NFL draft is usually a quiet time for free agents, and two of the biggest producers in Longhorns history — Cedric Benson and Vince Young — have wondered all spring if they would get another opportunity.
Benson visited with the Packers last week. I texted him Monday to ask how things went, and he said he expects to sign. He was off to a nice start in 2012 before suffering a season-ending foot injury in the fifth game.
Benson still has some tread left on those tires, so expect him to sign first. He said several teams are on the radar.
Young can still play, but it remains to be seen whether an NFL ballclub will give him that fourth opportunity he so desperately needs to regain his professional and financial equilibrium. The Raiders’ drafting of Tyler Wilson didn’t help his cause, since there were reports of him having a workout with Oakland a few weeks back.
Is Vince finished?
I’m still saying no. He’ll get another chance.
SO Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones told The Dallas Morning News that he needs quarterback Tony Romo to give “Peyton Manning-type time on the job.” So what was he expecting for these previous eight years, Ryan Leaf time?
It’s what you would expect from an owner whose team is 128-128 over its last 256 games. Romo should have been like Manning all along. Now he’s getting $55 million guaranteed, more than Joe Flacco, who has him outnumbered in postseason wins (9-1) and Super Bowl wins (1-0).
TRAVELL Mazion is a potential superstar. His electrifying first-round knockout of Fort Worth’s Ricky Young in his pro debut Saturday was the highlight of the evening at the Erwin Center. After Young boasted during Friday’s weigh-in that “somebody is going to get knocked out,” Mazion proved him right by laying him out in the first round.
“He did some talking. I did my talking in the ring,” Mazion said. “I wasn’t worried about what he said.”
It took all of 65 seconds. The Del Valle High School senior sent Young to the canvas three times, prompting the referee to stop the bout after Young landed face first in a neutral corner.
“I told you,” said Ann Wolfe, his trainer. “This boy is a killer. He will be a world champion.”
Less than 30 minutes later, Mazion and Wolfe celebrated the news of a promotional deal with Top Rank Boxing. Not a bad night’s work for a 17-year-old who hopes to be a graphic artist one day.
Wolfe says she hopes to have Mazion back in the ring within the next month, possibly sooner.
DURING a ringside chat Saturday, Top Rank President Bob Arum told me that Austin’s Brian Vera is being strongly considered for a July 13 fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. but that the fight hasn’t been officially signed yet.
“It’s a possibility if we come to terms,” said Arum, who will meet with Chavez’s representatives Wednesday. “Vera is a gutty guy who gives the fans what they want, and that’s what we like.”
Vera, the seventh-ranked middleweight in the WBC, told me he hasn’t signed a contract but expects to do so soon. He won’t be intimidated by Junior, who will enjoy a tremendous home-field advantage if the fight happens in Mexico City, which is the most likely venue. It will be Chavez’s first fight since being suspended for nine months and fined $900,000 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for a positive marijuana test last year.