Monday, April 29, 2013

Mike Francesa All Wrong About Jason Collins

No, It's Not Just a "Dramatic Attempt to Sell a Magazine"

Now that the sports story--indeed, the lead story--of the day is the coming out of Jason Collins, it's time for a little backlash. Already.

Teeing it up is WFAN's Mike Francesa, who Deadspin reports is peeved that he even has to talk about it. Francesa, the top-rated radio sports talker in New York, dismissed the first active male player in a major sport in the U.S. revealing in Sports Illustrated that he's gay as little more than a "dramatic attempt to sell a magazine, I guess."

Bad guess, Mike.

Francesa professed to be "honest" to his listeners when he proclaimed that "I really don't care" about the Collins story. Really?

Now, does he not care because he'd rather talk about Tim Tebow getting mercifully 86ed by the Jets, the surprisingly resilient Yankees or the desultory Mets? Or, does he have such an enlightened attitude about gays that he views a player's sexuality as irrelevant to what he does in a game? Or, worse, that he's less than enlightened and gets a case of the skeevies even thinking about a new definition of mano a mano?

Let's, for a brief moment, give Francesa the benefit of the doubt. He doesn't care about someone's sexuality. Roger that. And maybe a lot of his listeners don't either. But they want to talk about it anyway. And they have, dragging Francesa along. As well they should.

Maybe Francesa really doesn't give a hoot about a player's sexuality. It's a safe bet that most people, eventually, will feel the same, if they don't already. Either way, this is huge.
It's a watershed moment in the sports world that has made international headlines. It's an inevitable source of deep pride in the gay community. It also starts a conversation that is both intriguing and needed. And isn't that the essence of sports talk, anyway?

If Francesa doesn't care, he'll need to find a way soon. This is all callers will want to focus on for the next few days. And the stirring, heartfelt story told by Jason Collins is a hell of a lot more interesting than anything the Mets have done lately.

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