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 If Jason Collins wanted to bother with some small-town sports editor’s column, he could strike back immediately.

That’s why I am hoping this is not misinterpreted as stones being thrown at the first NBA player or major American men’s sports professional announcing he is gay.

Be assured that Collins could find book, chapter and verse time and time again to point out my sins using the same Bible that I read to note one of his.

The difference is I would hope to find mercy and forgiveness not applause.

So I am bothered by the hero’s welcome that Collins seems to be getting across the country this week with his announcement.

Heroes are those who battled to capture the Boston Marathon bombers recently.

That’s of course along with many others.

Years 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.

Some chuckled about that, which obviously was wrong.

Others blasted Kemp, again when maybe they had their own lives that could be criticized.

Hopefully, at least one person tried to help a man with a problem.

More recently, Tiger Woods’ career tumbled and he lost a large amount of sponsorship dollars once his immoral lifestyle came to light.

At least Woods, sincere or not, made a public apology for his faults and expressed the desire to change.

Best that I can tell, Collins has not done that.

“I’m black and I am gay,” he said as if one has anything to do with the other.

Courageous? This announcement 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.

In view of that, I have realized that unlike anything else I write as sports editor, this opinion is so against the current trend that it needed my publisher’s approval.

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 understand that right to employment.

You would hope that would come without unnecessary, cruel or childish comments from someone in the stands.

But if Collins next basketball season is applauded for anything other than a basket, rebound or defensive play, that would be wrong as well.

Brian Nielsen is sports editor of the JG-TC. Contact him at bnielsen@jg-tc.com or 217-238-6856.

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