Kevin Arnovitz covers the NBA for ESPN. We welcome him to the Hero Report podcast this week to discuss Jason Collins becoming the first openly gay male professional athlete in a major team sport and whether or not Collins’ decision to come out constitutes heroism. Kevin provides some insight into the culture of the NBA and we talk a bit about next steps for gay athletes.
Tell us what you think about this episode, discuss these issues with us on Twitter (Matt Langdon / Ari Kohen), and join us every week on Google+ for our live broadcast (where you can chat with us while we’re on the air and contribute to the conversation).
Want to make the podcast portable? Subscribe via iTunes (audio-only).
I don’t think the dictionary really matters that much to CBS Sports commentator Tim Brando. At least not based on anything he wrote during a Twitter tirade today that lasted a few hours and, as I type this, is still going on.
Now, when I think about heroism, as I happen to do as the author of a book and co-host of a podcast on the topic, here’s the sort of thing I have in mind:
People act heroically when they make a potentially life-altering sacrifice or put themselves at some serious risk and they need not have done so. Most often, today, heroes are those whose actions are seen to benefit others; in the classical sense, however, heroism included a broader range of martial actions or feats of endurance that were not necessarily other-regarding.
There’s more to say, obviously, but that’s a quick first pass at a definition. It’s interesting and potentially very fruitful to debate particular heroes and definitions of heroic actions — and, obviously, I’m counting on it for the success of my book — but it’s noteworthy that Brando seems not to have offered a definition at all, despite claiming that his Twitter tirade was all due to his deep care for definitions.
Incidentally, here are the tweets surrounding Ben Shapiro’s heroism tweet.
He’s gearing up to defend himself against allegations of homophobia with the argument that no one’s sexual orientation should matter in our society, that we shouldn’t be paying extra attention to Jason Collins just because he decided to come out, and that telling people you’re gay is just as (un)important as telling people you’re straight … which is pretty much the equivalent of shouting “I’m privileged in every single way possible” from the rooftops.
I’m guessing it’s actually challenging to pretend that you don’t understand the many pressures our society places on black men, on homosexuals, on athletes, and on homosexual black male athletes … especially when you’re as much of a straight, white, well-educated, well-off, bootstrap-self-puller-upper as Shapiro.
Needless to say, he’ll be writing a piece for some right-wing website about how he’s the victim of the Left’s intimidation and silencing tactics — the subject of a whole book he wrote (amazingly, it’s called Bullies) — soon enough.
From Comedy Central’s Indecision Tumblr:
Countdown over! In the category of derpiest comment about NBA pro Jason Collins’ coming out, the winner is Breitbart.com’s Ben Shapiro:
Hmm, who DOES meet Shapiro’s awfully high Nazi-killing standard for heroism?
Ben Shapiro’s standard for heroism has risen quite a bit since three months ago.
By every conceivable metric, Jason Collins’ decision to become the first openly gay active athlete in a major professional sport meets the definition of a heroic action. By those same metrics — and so many others — Breitbart.com’s Ben Shapiro is a ridiculous gasbag.
There are, of course, going to be far, far worse responses to Collins. But the anticipation of those don’t make Shapiro’s comments any less foolish.
The Midwest is almost certainly the toughest region: there is about a one-in-three chance that the eventual tournament champion will emerge from it, the highest of the four sub-brackets. Louisville, the top seed, began the season ranked No. 2 in the country, and closed it by winning the Big East tournament. Duke might be the best No. 2 seed in the tournament and is healthier than it has been for much of the season. Michigan State, the No. 3 seed, is one of a number of Big Ten teams that the computers are enamored of, and will get to play its first two games just down the road from East Lansing, Mich., in Auburn Hills. No. 7 seed Creighton, No. 9 Missouri and No. 12 Oregon all look a bit underseeded, and might have been good upset picks were the top of the region not so tough.
In other words, Nate Silver doesn’t think things look so good for my alma maters.
On this week’s episode of The Hero Report, we sit down with Mike Trivella, a student at the University of Notre Dame and author of a piece in the NextGen Journal called “Making Heroes out of Athletes.”
We discuss the role that athletes can and should play in society, in addition to the role they play on the field or the court. And, as I do my best impression of Charles Barkley, we ask whether or not athletes should be thought of as role models.
Tell us what you think about this episode, discuss these issues with us on Twitter (Matt Langdon / Ari Kohen), and join us every Friday at 4pm Eastern on Google+ for our live broadcast (where you can chat with us while we’re on the air and contribute to the conversation).
Want to make the podcast portable? Subscribe via iTunes (video / audio-only).
In between listening to an excellent lecture on gerrymandering and a series of meetings with students, I head back to my office to check on the tournament. Now I’m off to class,
I love my job.
In case you’re curious about how the flight deck of an aircraft carrier is converted into a college basketball venue, here’s a time-lapse video.