Backlash politics do not disappear by themselves, not as long as there remains an audience for them. They hide. They camouflage themselves. And the audience doesn’t disperse. It takes refuge in euphemism and deceit. Backlash politics must be crushed, and the audience must be rendered politically inert. Self-congratulation is the worst possible context in which this can happen. Watch how quickly “Jason Collins” becomes a conjuring spell on the political right. Watch them invent a “Jason Collins” that they can use to their own purposes. Watch it happen. It will look like magic.
Charlie Pierce is one of the most outstanding social commentators of this era, and it's a credit to Grantland that they feature his writing. His overarching point here is that we, as a society, shouldn't be as self-congratulatory as many of us would like to be, just because Jason Collins's announcement has been met with mostly positive public reactions. For most of the non-bigots among us, it's easy to have respect and understanding for Collins, and we assume that everybody else is just like us.
Pierce believes that the announcement is being received less well in quieter quarters, and he's almost certainly correct that a backlash will follow. Society still has a ways to go, even if many of us have evolved.