February 6, 2013

The trailer for the upcoming film "42" begins with a silhouetted baseball player walking down the tunnel toward the dugout. A voice says: "I don't know who he is, or where he is, but he's coming." The scene captures the anticipation of Jackie Robinson crossing the Major League Baseball color barrier. That moment just before history is made is a moment that sure feels a lot like now, as we wait for the arrival of the first openly gay man in U.S. major professional team sports. Just like Jackie, the breakthrough gay athlete will be a courageous individual going it alone in uncharted territory. But, also like Jackie, he will have backup -- and hopefully more of it. One of the seminal moments of Jackie Robinson's first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers was when teammate Pee Wee Reese put his arm around Jackie during a game and then faced the crowd. The message was clear: teammates are teammates. Brothers. Reese wasn't a civil rights advocate.