There have been rumors of active athletes within the four major sports preparing to come out and reveal their homosexuality for the past several months. Finally, the moment has come, and Jason Collins of the NBA told the world that he was gay. It is a huge moment in the world of sports, as well as in the fight for acceptance for gays in today’s society. Unfortunately, a great amount of attention has been stolen from this historic moment because Miami Dolphins wide receiver, Mike Wallace, commented on twitter, and the public reacted.
The tweets that Wallace sent have since been erased, but with them having been up for roughly 30 minutes, they are now all over the internet.
“I’m not bashing anybody don’t have anything against anyone I just don’t understand it.”
“All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH…”
This was immediately met with cries of outrage, and Wallace has since been labeled as homophobic, ignorant and many other words that cannot be repeated here. As stated, Wallace did delete the tweets and followed up with an apology.
Never said anything was right or wrong I just said I don’t understand!! Deeply sorry for anyone that I offended
— Mike Wallace (@Wallace17_daKid) April 29, 2013
The Dolphins also came out with a statement saying that they had talked with Wallace about the incident and that his comments do not reflect the views of the organization.
Wallace should have remembered his station in life, and realized that he is a public figure whose words reach a large audience. He should have known that he would be putting himself in a bad situation because of his tweets. But, was what Wallace did really as bad as it has been made out to be?
Wallace clearly states that he is not coming down on anyone for what they choose to do in their life, but that he cannot understand it based on his own life. He is not “gay-bashing” or attacking anyone for his or her sexual preferences, in fact, he clearly states he does not have anything against anyone. Wallace was simply saying how he felt, in a very bland, non-offensive way.
The problem is, anything that is at odds with another person’s beliefs is now seen as offensive.
With Collins coming out, the conversation has centered on acceptance, and on each of us being tolerant of others beliefs. Yet, when Wallace expresses his beliefs in an extremely innocent manner, he is viciously attacked and ridiculed.
For speaking his own mind, in a non-aggressive manner, Wallace has now been “bashed” and vilified. The attacks have been just as intolerant, and closed-minded, as the ones gays and other minorities have been subjected to for far too long.
There is nothing wrong with saying that you do not understand how a guy can be attracted to another guy, just as there is nothing wrong with a gay man saying he doesn’t understand how a man could be attracted to a woman. Both thoughts are personal feelings based on how each feels, and neither should be seen as offensive or disrespectful.
If Wallace had made tweets condemning gays and their lifestyle, this article would have an extremely different tone. People who say things to hurt others for their beliefs deserve to be taken to task for fostering intolerance and bigotry. Mike Wallace is not one of these people, and those who have been attacking him are exemplifying intolerance.
Saying that Wallace has no right to speak on the subject is wrong. We all have every right to talk about whatever we want. It is the beautiful thing about having free thought and the freedom of speech. Wallace did not abuse those freedoms by saying mean and hurtful things to anyone, he expressed how he felt and there should be tolerance for his feelings.
Hopefully, Jason Collins broke the seal, and now there will be others who have the courage to do the same. Hopefully, when others choose to express their beliefs, they will be met with tolerance rather than hate, regardless of their stance on a touchy subject.