Tim Brando. (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)
By Chris Chase, USA TODAY Sports
After insinuating Jason Collins' sexuality was a choice, CBS play-by-play announcer and radio host Tim Brando complained on Twitter about people using the word "hero" to describe the NBA player and his historic announcement. What followed was exactly the type of reasoned discourse you'd expect on a site that's home to 38 million Justin Bieber followers.
Brando retweeted support and argued with critics for more than six hours on Monday after making the inflammatory comments about the NBA's first openly gay player. He later backed away from the "choice" comment, insisting he was talking about Collins' choice to come out at 34 years old. He got the most flak for arguing that Collins isn't a hero.
Without resorting to the cliched "Webster's defines 'hero'" line - which is an easy way to prove Brando's position is weak - isn't it legitimate to say that a hero is in the eye of the beholder? Brando wants to reserve the term for the men and women in our military, police forces and firefighting units. Why?
If at least one person out there thinks Collins is a hero, then he's a hero to that person. We're all entitled to our opinions, as Brando notes repeatedly when defending himself.
The strangest thing is that Brando hosts a daily radio show that's broadcast nationally. Rather than write his provocative opinions in 140-character bursts, he could have fleshed out a reasonable defense of his position on his show. It's hard to stake out complex positions in a couple sentences. Even if you disagree with Brando, as I do, there's theoretically a nuanced discussion waiting to be had. Twitter isn't the place for it, as it can lead to lines like this.
First of all, what? Second of all, just because you're logged into Twitter doesn't mean you have to give every opinion that runs through your head. And finally, as the Tumblr site Public Shaming points out, Brando hasn't treated the word "hero" with such reverence in the past.
Brando thinks golfer David Toms and the lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish are heroes. That's fine; it's his opinion. On Monday, it was the opinion of many, many more that Jason Collins was a hero too.
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