Well, it has finally happened.
In a cover story for Sports Illustrated’s May 6, 2013 issue, NBA free agent and veteran Jason Collins, has revealed to the world that he is a gay man. Collins begins his personal essay by saying, “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”
The essay is thoughtful, poignant and well-written. Collins, a graduate of Stanford University, writes about growing up in a Christian home, struggling with his identity and talks about how he was living a lie, going as far as getting engaged to a woman, because he thought that’s what he should do.
So far, he has gotten messages of support from fellow players, fans and athletes in other sports. And though there have been messages of ignorance left in the comments section of the SI article and on Twitter, Collins says he’s ready for them.
As far as the reaction of fans, I don’t mind if they heckle me. I’ve been booed before. There have been times when I’ve wanted to boo myself. But a lot of ill feelings can be cured by winning.
This is an important day in sports history. Even though Collins, at the moment, is a free agent and not signed, he is an active player in a major sport and he has come out. Hopefully, others will follow his lead and one day, gay professional athletes won’t be a rarity, they will be commonplace.