Limbaugh: Maybe if Tebow came out as gay, he'd land an NFL roster spot next year

Via Mediaite and the Daily Rushbo, it’s funny ’cause it’s kinda sorta true. One of the subplots in yesterday’s big Jason Collins announcement is that he’s an unsigned 34-year-old free agent who averaged around two rebounds and one point per game last year. He can play D, which explains his long career, but until yesterday it was an open question whether he’d be back in the league this fall. (Nate Silver ran the numbers after the SI story broke and concluded that Collins’s prospects, purely from a basketball standpoint, were iffy.) Today, though? Here’s what his agent told ESPN’s Darren Rovell last night:

If he ends up unsigned then technically he’ll have come out after playing his last game, which complicates the “first gay active player in a major sport” narrative. The league won’t want to forfeit that claim to fame, and it really won’t want people thinking that Collins wasn’t signed because he’s gay. There’s advertising money waiting here too, plus potential interest from casual fans intrigued to see Collins play. One of his former coaches said he can help on the court as a defensive role player and off the court as a marketing hook:

Frank, if anyone, knows that NBA teams don’t need any extra media scrutiny. But he’s convinced Collins would have no negative impact. “It won’t become a distraction,” says Frank. “I’m telling you, in my eyes, this is how it will play out. Whatever team he goes to, there will be an initial story. And then everyone moves on. I’m telling you, it will not be an issue in the locker room. It won’t even move the needle in the locker room. It won’t be a ripple effect. People are going to embrace him because of who is he.”…

And off-the-court, Collins could help a team increase its reach, to gay and lesbian fans in the community. “An owner may say, ‘here’s a guy who can strengthen our connection to our fan base, and be an ambassador,” says Paul Swangard, director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon. “‘Jason Collins offers value beyond wins and losses, so we might as well take a chance on him with our 13th roster spot.’ I hope that happens.”

The president of the United States talked him up at a national press conference this morning. Someone will sign him.

As for Tebow, something yesterday from John Nolte:

Someone else on Twitter last night mentioned the reaction to Lolo Jones admitting her virginity as another comparison point. Of the three of them, Collins is the most likely to be hassled (or worse) by opponents and the public more broadly for who he is, but as objects of media scrutiny in particular, it’s debatable. Chris Broussard of ESPN offered low-key boilerplate religious disapproval of homosexuality on the air yesterday and the network’s already apologized in the name of “diversity.” Exit quotation: “They’re committed to ‘diversity’ but not to airing a diversity of opinion?”

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Ed Morrissey 10:01 AM on December 06, 2022