NBA’s Jason Collins Is First Active Pro Athlete to Come Out

Inspiring 6

jason collinsIt may not have been his intention, but NBA player Jason Collins has made history this week. Featured in a new Sports Illustrated cover story, Collins said, "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay." It's a simple statement, but an extremely ground-breaking one. The Washington Wizards star is the first professional athlete to come out while still playing the game.

Society is certainly more accepting of gay people than it was even a decade ago. It's wonderful that we can have hit television shows centered around gay parents and that some states are finally granting them the same rights as heterosexual couples when it comes to marriage and insurance coverage. Even the military is mildly more welcoming. Though one area seems to have remained staunchly straight -- pro sports.

Our teams have long been a bastion of uber-masculine, testosterone-fueled heterosexuality. And I imagine it's an incredibly intimidating environment for anyone who is slightly different in any way. Collins has been in the league for 13 years and just became comfortable enough to be open about who he is. He didn't even come out to his twin brother, also in the NBA, until last year. Now, with everything finally in the open, he feels free to really focus on his game.

It's crazy to think that Collins has made history just by speaking the truth, his truth. The definition of “hero” can take on many shapes, but they don’t all have to be over-the-top, life-saving gestures. This simple move will help more young people than any superhero ever would. It’s beyond brave and something no other gay athlete felt they could do before, even though several have come out after retirement. Who knows? This could go a long way in changing attitudes among other players as well.

Do you think Jason Collins' announcement was brave?

 

Image via Sports Illustrated

athletes, basketball, scandal

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Irela... Ireland69

Why do we have to say what are sex orientation is?  It's not of our business what anybody chooses to be with.  I don't tell anybody hey I'm straight.  I respect anybody preference.

Cafe Amy Cafe Amy

Yes! He is brave ... and hopefully he is leading the way for the (I'm sure!) many other players in professional sports to come out as well. I agree that no one should feel like they have to shout it from the mountaintops -- but they also shouldn't feel like they have to hide who they really are.

EvasM... EvasMom23

I think it's awesome he came out while he was still playing, and I think that while it stinks people feel they need to "shout it from the rooftops" now -- that it will help everything become normalized in the future. I can't wait to look back on this and wonder why it was ever an issue, but for now, when we don't even have equal protection under the law -- it is.

jayboff jayboff

Definitely brave! The world of professional sports is such a tough guys' club. I knew the reaction would be mixed, but it's a step in the right direction. I hope he paves the way for many other athletes to come out. Just a shame that it's taken this long!

kaytee17 kaytee17

I'm actually shocked to hear he's the first!  This is a huge step in destigmatizing homosexuality, especially in machismo world of professional sports.  Bravo, Jason for taking this brave step!

tuffy... tuffymama

I like to fuck men! I'm so brave to admit that! GMAFB. And no, it isn't the same, but neither is he BRAVE or a HERO for telling the world he is gay. More than likely, shit was about to hit the fan and it was better PR to head it off at the pass.

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