NBA Player Comes Out
The Kansas City Star
NBA center Jason Collins just became the first openly gay athlete in a major North American sport.
If you need a reason why that matters, consider that there are millions of young people across the country and around the world who are confused about their sexuality. Some of them are even hopeless enough to be suicidal. Collins, by making his sex life public, may well have kept some of them from trying to take their own life. The man, quite simply, may have saved young lives. At the very least, he has given hope to those sad millions, showing them it’s possible to lead a rich, fulfilling, honest life, no matter who you happen to love.
Yes, Collins will experience some negative reactions in the locker room and from fans. The angry voices, though, will be few. Collins, more importantly, will also experience a flood of support. Some will come from those who are gay and still closeted. Some will come from those who are straight but care about their gay friends and family. Some will support him simply because they believe that gender orientation has no bearing on character.
Collins is a free agent. Any team that signs him for next season will likely see a few season-ticket holders choose not to renew. There may be a few Westboro-ish protests. Rest assured, the haters will be replaced – and be far outnumbered – by new fans who want to show their support.
Soon, after this flare of publicity fades, an even finer thing will happen: no one will care. Before long, people will grow used to the idea of gay athletes, and the only newsworthy thing about Jason Collins will be his performance on the court.