Political Correctness Run Amuck

895571700_c6646a244eIn a recent article on the newswire of RunnersWorld.com, the story of Derrick Hayes,  exemplifies a form of bias that we don’t often speak of, the bias towards religion.

As the story goes, Hayes, a Texas High School student and track athlete anchored his school’s 4 x 100 meter relay team.  After crossing the finish line in first place, qualifying his team for the State Championships, Hayes lifted his finger and pointed to the heavens, an apparent gesture of his faith.

For this gesture, Hayes team was disqualified and their dreams of running at the state championships dashed.

The reason given for this disqualification “excessive celebration.”

Nowhere has anyone said, that Hayes or his team taunted their competitors, they didn’t high-five and jump, they didn’t do an end zone dance or even pat each other on the butt… no, what happened was Hayes pointed his finger to the heavens.

Our society has gone over the cliff of political correctness when High School students can’t express their excitement at qualifying for the State Championships.  In my mind the “excessive celebration” rule has taken much of the joy out of sport, but this particular case not only ruins the team’s deserved position, but slaps people of faith in the face.

Last week we all celebrated the bravery of Jason Collins as he came out of the closet as an NBA player.  (My comments are here.) Sadly, this story of an athlete’s faith has been largely ignored by the media, the twittervese, blogosphere and leaders.

When Collins came out, he got a phone call from the President of the United States, a tweet from the First Lady and a 90 minute special interview with Oprah.  It seems like someone could at least stand up and say, this isn’t right and we need to honor this kid and his faith instead of punishing him!

If we are ever going to be a nation that honors all of our differences, we must honor everyone, not just those we choose to honor.

Too often the gay community and religious community are at odds.  The black  and white community are at odds.  Men and women, Republican and Democrat, north and south, east and west…. we just all seem to stay at odds.

When we discuss being disenfranchised we need to remember that many of our citizens feel this way and if we are to be a nation of the people and by the people, we must find a way to live together and appreciate the unique threads that we all bring to our nation’s fabrics.

Original RunnersWorld.com article may be found here.

Jason Collins is Gay and MUCH More

Jason-Collins-is-gay_-Image-via-@SInowProfessional Basketball Player Jason Collins came out of the closet this week,  I guess I should write about that.

I would suspect like most Americans, before his announcement I had never heard of Jason Collins, a hardworking guy who had used his talents with various organizations to help them succeed.  HHMMM, interesting.

Before hearing about Jason Collins coming out of the closet I never knew he was a twin to a heterosexual pro Basketball player, a guy who loves his parents and wanted to honor them with his actions and life. Now I do.

Before hearing about Jason Collins coming out, I never knew anything about him, I guess you could say, before his public announcement, I would have just assumed Jason Collins was a hardworking American who loved his family, his career and worked hard every day to make a difference.  Now I know he’s gay.

So now we know who Jason Collins is….he’s a hardworking American who loves his family, his career and works hard every day to make a difference…..oh, yeah he’s also gay.

Some call Jason Collins a hero, I understand that.  Because of his actions he has shown boys around the world that it is ok to be themselves,  excel in their chosen profession, honor their family, their employer and their country…. and be gay.

Jason Collins is a hero because he helps to shatter the stereotype of a limp-wristed, lisping queen.  Collins is a fouling, trash-talking center that isn’t afraid to fight for his team and victory.

In my view what makes Jason Collins a real hero is that he is a man, a hardworking man, a family man, a man who happens to be gay.

He is the first to make this announcement and hopefully he won’t be the last, hopefully those still to come will do so with the class and dignity of Jason Collins.

Hopefully one day, a professional athlete will come out and the reaction of the public will be…….. and……

When people are able to live their lives with grace, free of prejudice or stereotype, then, and only then, can we truly be a people who honors life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all our fellow-man.

Jason Collins is a hero, for many reasons, ONE of them is because he was the first professional athlete in a major team sport in the USA to come out as a gay man.