It’s 2013 and unfortunately the announcement that got made by Jason Collins is a big deal not only for the NBA, yet for all other professional sports. He becomes the first active player in the league who is gay.
Collins who has been in the league since 2001-2002 admits said “When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue.”
He continues on with “I’ve endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie. I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew. And yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time. I still had the same sense of humor, I still had the same mannerisms and my friends still had my back.”
The best news is that there are people behind him such as former president Bill Clinton, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and the Boston Red Sox organization has invited him to throw out a first pitch as shown by this Tweet.
We salute you, @jasoncollins34 for your courage and leadership. Any time you want to throw out a first pitch at Fenway Park, let us know.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 29, 2013
While Collins claims “I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”
Hopefully in the next five years when other athletes do make the announcement it isn’t a big deal. Not only is Collins leading the way, there are other athletes involved such as Brendon Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe.
Unfortunately today has also shown that there’s still work that needs to get done. Including the ignorant Tweets of wide receiver Mike Wallace who since deleted the two. He said “all these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH…” The second “never said anything was right or wrong I just said I don’t understand!! Deeply sorry for anyone that I offended.”
Realistically why should a player be judged by their own sexuality? How about basing it on how their level of play and the impact on the community instead? Collins did a great service for professional sports and one can only hope that a player’s sexuality isn’t going to matter to the fans or the organization itself.