Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Outcomes and Other Endings

I approach every "issue" that surfaces in the world-at-large from the same perspective.  Namely, that I am such a cantankerous, underdeveloped, disconnected tool that it is entirely possible that my point of view is not shared - even a little - by any other person.  I have no issue with that at all.  I accept it as not only plausible but - on more than an occasional basis - likely to be the case.  I sleep soundly.  I assure you. 

Therefore, perhaps it is just me who fails to comprehend why the sexual orientation of a gentleman who earns his living in the front office of a professional sports franchise is (a) news; and (b) the business of anyone alive other than the gentleman in question.  I sort of understood the hue and cry when twenty years ago or so Magic Johnson disclosed to the world at large that he had HIV, which disclosure he made at the press conference announcing his retirement from the NBA.  He had earned his living playing a sport in which physical contact is inevitable, injury is not infrequent and the possibility of one player's blood landing and/or ending up on another player was something more than just remote. 

To me, that necessity is absent from Rick Welts' line of work.  Not to mention the fact that Johnson announced not a personal sexual orientation but rather that he had contracted a disease that most of us consider to be a death sentence - and twenty years further on up the road Magic Johnson continues to confound science I reckon.  Welts' personal sexual orientation is as much my business or yours as is his political affiliation, his religion and his place on the meat-eater/vegetarian/vegan continuum.  That it to say that it is not our business at all.

We like to pat ourselves on the back in these United States.  We live for the opportunity to feel better about ourselves - irrespective of whether we have in fact done anything praiseworthy.  To that end, note the number of people associated with the NBA (the league in which Mr. Welts earns his living) from league officials to owners, from players to broadcasters lining up to announce that they "applaud" and "support" his decision to "come out".  How presumptuous of them - and of us - to act as if he was shilling for the approval of others.  And how screwed up are all of us - to a degree at least - if either he was or if we interpreted his announcement in such a manner?  All of us does not - these days at least - include New York Rangers agitator Sean Avery.  As a lifelong Rangers fan I hope that the rest of the Blueshirts have at least half as worthwhile an off-season as #16 has had thus far.

One would hope that those who know Mr. Welts feel the same about him now as they did prior to his announcement.  And one would hope that those of us who do not know him - and who (present company included) could not have named at gunpoint the President of the Phoenix Suns prior to his announcement - do not permit our perception of him to be colored solely by his announcement.  Is he an honorable man?  Is he an honest man?  Is he a capable man?  Is he good at his job?  All of these things seem to be how one would take the measure of this man in the position in which he earns his living.  The other stuff?  Important to him no doubt and rightly so.  Yet, wholly irrelevant to the discussion of his job and the manner in which he performs it. 

Maybe it is just me.  Who knows.  I might very well be the only English-speaking person in the Western Hemisphere who does not "get" Lady Gaga as a force of nature in the world of music (and please do not get me started on the laugh out loud irony of her "anthem" Born This Way, a song that blithely ignores the fact that she is about as packaged as a Hungry-Man frozen dinner) so my powers of perception are not exactly....powerful.  It remains - and I suppose it always shall - a mystery to me why we as a collective act as if we have the right to examine and stick our noses in the business of each member of the hive. 

I am just a dinosaur I suppose.  Rarely surprised but consistently disappointed by the fact that here in the first quarter of the 21st Century there is no such thing as too much information.  Knowledge is in short supply.  But information?  Information is there for the having.   

-AK

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