Sports editor: Being gay is a choice and Jason Collins is no hero

Brian Nielsen, sports editor of the Mattoon (Ill.) Journal Gazette & Times-Courier, says he’s “bothered by the hero’s welcome that [Jason] Collins seems to be getting across the country this week with his announcement” that he’s gay.

collinsYears ago Jackie Robinson fought a courageous, pioneering battle — a battle that was unfair for a man to have to fight just because he was born with a certain color of skin.

To compare the plight of Collins with his own lifestyle choice to Robinson’s should really insult Jackie’s family today. It even bothers me.

Still we have people calling Collins a pioneer.

I never heard that, and rightfully so, when NBA player Shawn Kemp had fathered several illegitimate children with different women.

Nielsen, 57, says Collins’ coming-out “comes during a time in our society when so-called political correctness has overwhelmingly trumped Christian morals and a time when Collins was going to get positive feedback. Somehow, many have decided they know the rules better than God.”

The sports editor says his opinion “is so against the current trend that it needed my publisher’s approval,” and “if you are reading this it means that it has made our paper along with my acknowledgement that Collins’ future in the NBA should depend on his ability to help a basketball team.”

I’ve called and emailed Nielsen and publisher Carl Walworth for comment. Their Journal Gazette & Times Courier is a Lee Enterprises newspaper.

At last check, there were only two comments about Nielsen’s column. One reader wrote: “I don’t read the sport section to get bible thumping. Stick to sports.” The other said: “I have to admit I was surprised to read such a homophobic diatribe on the sports page of the JG-TC.”

UPDATE– Nielsen writes in an email: “Early today I received probably 10 positive emails and one negative from a nearby town. As more people saw it on the website, maybe about six or more negative reactions.”

* Sports editor Jason Collins — human, yes; a hero, no (