Monday was a groundbreaking day for all sports, not just basketball, when N.B.A. player Jason Collins became the first professional athlete in a major team sport to come out as gay. It was a moment that many had been preparing for and anticipating for a while, a door that finally opened and began a process that will make it easier for others to come out in all sports someday.
And it wasn't hard to see the immediate impact of that opening sentence in the Sports Illustrated column authored by Collins: "I'm a 34-year-old N.B.A. center. I'm black. And I'm gay."
President Barack Obama personally called Collins and First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted about it; President Bill Clinton put out a statement. Athletes and others in the N.B.A. and N.F.L., Major League Baseball and tennis, among others, were quick to show their support as well with tweets and official statements from Kobe Bryant to the Boston Red Sox, who invited Collins to throw out the first pitch at a game at Fenway Park.
What was missing from this national conversation? Nascar. The sport that desperately wants to be viewed as mainstream, the sport that has made a significant effort to diversify the garage and fan base, was remarkably silent on Monday. There was no official statement from chairman and chief executive Brian France or president Mike Helton. There were no tweets from drivers -- at least not the most prominent names in the garage that I checked. And as far as I know, no track came forward to invite Collins to attend a Sprint Cup race and wave the green flag.
I don't know if it was an oversight or a nod to Nascar's predominantly conservative Southern fan base. Either way, the result was the same. Nascar was not part of the discussion on Monday -- an outlier on a day when other sports were all in.
You're either a mainstream sport or you're fringe. You can't have it both ways.
But beyond the message sent to those outside the bubble, consider the message it sent throughout the garage and to the race teams and thousands of employees who are part of the sport -- some of whom, no doubt, are gay.
To them, Nascar's silence on Jason Collins Monday says it all.