NBA player, Jason Collins, has come out as the first openly gay player in any of the big four professional American sports.
When I first heard the news of Collins coming out my first reaction wasn’t, “This is a great day for tolerance in sport and America,” nor was it, “Oh my god, this is going to bring down American and decent society as we know it.” My first reaction was, “Who the hell is Jason Collins?”
If you had the same reaction here is Jason Collins. He has played for the New Jersey Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics and most recently, the Washington Wizards. This may be the reason that most people have never hear of him.
He is 34-years old and is currently a free agent. It is being reported that he is an “active NBA player” but in reality he has no team to play for. Thirty-four is pretty old by NBA standards and being a free agent probably makes it easier for Collins to come out. To me it seems like Collins is announcing this because he is about to retire.
Even though he says he wants to continue playing his age makes it very unlikely that any team will pick him up. Plus there will probably be some outcry from religious nuts towards any team that even considers signing Collins. There will probably be some very ignorant comments coming from players as well.
I think what Jason Collins has done is a great thing. I have always said that there are gay players in every professional sport. They have just been too afraid to come out for fear of reprisals and a fear that they may be committing career suicide.
It’s tough being the first person to do anything and Jason Collins has paved the way for other gay athletes. Hopefully, the reaction to Collins’ announcement will be positive. I’m sure there will be some negative, hurtful comments coming from the usual suspects but overall I think America is ready for this.
I had no idea who Jason Collins was before today but I am positive that I will remember who he is for the rest of my life. Good luck, Jason, and thank you.